What a great week at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) for Spring/Summer 2019, where more strides were made in breaking down the barriers of Ageism. So much progress has been made in adding Diversity to the runway. Christian Siriano had more than a few Plus Size models in his show this past Friday. Plus size actress and model, Candace Huffine, made a dramatic appearance that created a huge uproar within the large Gotham Hall where the show was held.
This summer I attended classes at F.I.T., the Fashion Institute of Technology. One class was in Event Planning and it qualified me to work behind the scenes at NYFW helping models dress and change. Today I volunteered to help for the designer Tome. How exciting it was to see TWO Over Fifty models. Jo-Ani Johnson and Jacky O’Shaughnessy as models in the show. I couldn’t help but go up to Jo-Ani and tell her how much I loved her and her look, her hair, her personality and her attitude about aging. We had a great conversation. She is a wonderful inspiration for all women Over Fifty.
Jo-Ani also told me something that jolted me back to reality. When she went to check in the morning for the show, the security guard would not let her in. The guard let other models in, but made Jo-Ani wait outside. Because she did not look like the “young” models, he did not believe she was in the show. She was upset and asked me to write about it. So, I am.
Although we are making great progress in adding Diversity to the runway, Ageism is still out there. It is beyond me why Jo-Ani’s name wasn’t on a list, or maybe it was, but the guard still didn’t believe her. I am not sure. However, hopefully the guard learned a lesson and this lesson will be taught throughout fashion weeks around the world.
Despite this incident, Jo-Ani came out the victor for all of us. She and Jacky strutted the catwalk just like all the other models in the show and in doing so, made a great statement. Look out world, here we come. Despite this incident, Jo-Ani should be proud that her steps on the catwalk are just the beginning of more models Over Fifty to do the same.