Women in Leadership

Careers For Older Women – In Fashion

Natasha Zurnamer asked:

Imagine utilising your skills while you surround yourself in fashion? I am going to suggest for you that a career in fashion is an excellent career for older women. I am passionate at focusing on skill set to get to where you want to get to in your career. Let’s look at fashion careers for older women.

Who said fashion is about youth? Certainly from reading glamour magazines and seeing how the general media portrays body image in fashion you would think so. But there are so many jobs that create a fashion business and I am going to let you know the one’s that are prefect careers for older women.

Presentation is everything and in fashion it’s the entire industries core value. There are a multitude of brands craving for the presentation and style of older women. In fashion retail and wholesale sales particularly I have had numerous requests for the presentation, reliability and commitment of an older woman. Successful Australian brands including Maggie T, Resort Report, Wombat, Dolina, Brown Sugar and many more rely on the presentation of older women to relate to their clients in the retail and wholesale environment. Better still some offer exceptional flexibility to attract older women to their careers including flexible hours and job share structure. Many of my clients have commented on the need to employ older women to relate to the brand and target customer and although it is not policy for them to discriminate should a younger person apply they have found huge success in attracting and employing older women to their brands especially in the retail environment.

Let’s investigate the behind the scenes careers for older women. Over the years and during my days in Fashion Recruitment I have placed many older women into permanent and job share roles in Customer Service, Accounts and as Administrators. The attraction of employing a skilled older woman who may be interested in permanent part time or job share is highly attractive within a fashion head office environment. One of the pluses that employers are constantly quoting to me is that older women are reliable and tend to stay in the role for a long period of time thus providing consistency and sound relationships with customers. By providing flexibility many employers have realised that the benefit to the business is immeasurable. Older women feel that they are being valued by the employer and with this the loyalty that they give has a direct impact on sales and service levels.

The question begs… Is there room for older women in design, product development and brand management roles within a fashion environment? In this instance an older women making a career change into fashion may find obstacles in securing a role in these categories. Experience counts and making a move into a career in fashion in these categories relies on experience. In this instance my suggestion to you is to focus on your foundation skill set and transfer these skills into fashion. For example if you have been an administrator within another industry you could simply make the transition into fashion and create your career within a new environment. Attempting to move from an unrelated skill set into design, product development or brand management as an older woman may result in a lack of opportunities, however, if you have been in a design, product development or brand role within a fashion environment you have a future.

Reposition yourself within a brand applicable to your age and fashion purchasing habits. In design, product development or brand management your success is reliant on your understanding of the target market and what better understanding will you have if you are the customer? That’s not to say that older women are not successfully designing youth brands, they are and always will. But in my opinion your understanding of the target market and adaptation to youth product as you get older can be challenging. If you strategically reposition yourself into a new target market and make use of your skill set you are guaranteed success.

In fashion careers for older women are also common within Senior Management and Operations. Youth is not a factor when it comes to leadership and strategic business management and experience counts. If you have created your career within a fashion environment in operations and management you need to move with the times and adapt to the behaviours, drivers and thinking of the youth you employ. If you can successfully do this which means not adopt stale ideals of how thing were you have a great future. Your career drivers as an older woman may be completely different but your success and especially within a fashion environment is your ability to wholeheartedly embrace change and the youth of today.

One more thing; successful careers for older women within the fashion industry are incalculably reliant on your ability to move with the times without trying to be what you are no longer; young at heart will do just fine.

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