Style

Why the hint of change? Society’s balancing, says our Fashion Sherpa

Mike Watson
Mike Watson mhames@charlotteobserver.com

Mike Watson has done an array of work in fashion: He’s designed his own line, served as a regional manager for national retail chains, done visual merchandising and store design (for which he’s won national awards) and now teaches fashion marketing and design at the Art Institute of Charlotte. But he’s also a visual artist, works with TEDx Charlotte, is a personal growth coach and lectures on art, fashion and style. Now we’re adding a noun: Sherpa, in the sense of a native, experienced guide. We’ll periodically ask him to wax philosophical on a topic in CLT_Style.

On whether this rash of older women in fashion ads is a stunt, a trend or an attempt to be inclusive:

PR and advertising, along with brand managers, tend to push ideologies that reflect a bigger cultural trend, yet at the same time are avant-garde or innovative enough to create a reaction from the general public.

So, with “older” women: Three different generations of women are existing together (now) in the business world and in public domains, like yoga studios, for the first time.

What is happening is a greater awareness of what it means to be a woman, based on a variety of perspectives.

Additionally, Eastern philosophy and perspective continue to gain influence in our Western culture, and they tend to see “older” as beautiful, as intellectually relevant and also a substantial factor in stabilizing the community and family.

This – along with the facts that more women are graduating with higher degrees and that the majority of MBA graduates are now women, and the recognition of how a female perspective can elevate business and performance when balanced with the traditionally male viewpoint – is all coming together to shift the world into a more balanced male/female, young/old paradigm, and away from the singularly defined idea of male-dominant and youth-obsessed culture.

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