Embracing my 60th birthday: Defying Stereotypes and Harnessing Experience in Luxury Fashion / Lifestyle

In the fast-paced world of luxury fashion & lifestyle, the appeal of ‘youthful’ energy and cutting-edge selling and creative skills often holds the spotlight. This narrow view, unfortunately, fosters an environment of ageism, where the wisdom and insights garnered from years of dedication and experience are devalued in the quest for the new.

As I turn 60, I challenge this perception and underscore the immense value and benefits that decades of service bring to our industry.

Having spent the last three decades in this vibrant sector and serving as the Managing Director of Outside-the-Box Recruitment Ltd for the past seven years, I’ve learned that age can on too many occasions place you in an ‘agism’ box. But what happens when you don’t fit into that box, the box that the person as put you in, from reading your CV and works out you’re of a certain age or your profile picture on social media means “you’re not on brand” meaning you look too old or not styled to their liking. Experience is not a limitation but a power that has enabled me to redefine boundaries and exceed expectations.

Is 60 the new 30? Possibly, but not in the way you might think. Sixty doesn’t signify a slowdown, but a chapter teeming with a treasury of industry knowledge, ambition, resilience, and longstanding professional relationships. To put things into perspective, I share this milestone year with iconic Hollywood celebrities like Chris Rock, Brad Pitt, Quentin Tarrentino, Jennifer Beals, Julianne Moore,. Michael Jordon, Tom Cruise, Lisa Kudrow, Each one of them exemplifies the vitality, creativity, and elegance of the new 60, challenging preconceived notions of age.

For the Millennials and Z generation who are now in decision making roles. 60 might seem ‘old’ and an age way in the future. But do they have the foresight to realize that with this mature age, it encapsulates a lifetime of valuable industry lessons, having weathered economic crashes and technological revolutions. This deep-rooted experience empowers the 60+ to adapt, innovate, and blend time-tested practices with contemporary thinking.

Born in an era before social media, mobile phones, and LinkedIn, I have witnessed and adapted to the technological transformation of our industry. I’ve seen how these advancements have reshaped the fashion and recruitment landscape and experienced how enduring industry principles retain their relevance amid these changes. This robust history has prepared us to better predict challenges and navigate the future.

In my previous blog post on why luxury fashion and lifestyle companies trust our recruitment services, I stressed the importance of experience as a cornerstone of trust within our industry.

As I celebrate this milestone birthday, I urge the luxury fashion / lifestyle sector to re-evaluate its perspective on age. Let age be seen not as a constraint but as a treasure chest of wisdom, experience, and insight. We should strive for an industry that values both youth and experience, innovation and tradition. Being a ‘dolphin’ or ‘dinosaur’ does not depict age or looks but your attitude to life, work ethic, communication & social skills, reluctant or embraces change, high or low energy, positive or negative thinker, inspiring or devalues, can ‘think outside the box’. I am 60 and identify as a dolphin. I have lost count how many times I am told “you don’t look your age”, “you don’t dress for your age”, “you have so much energy for your age” and although on the surface it is a greatly received complement, but under that surface, it is agism as I don’t confirm to their idea of a person who is 60!

Turning 60 is not just a personal milestone; it’s a celebration of life (many of my friends didn’t make it to this age) it has been a journey that has woven through the ever-evolving world of luxury fashion & lifestyle recruitment. It’s a testament to the power of a three-decade dedication to our industry, the lessons learned, and the wisdom accrued. As we continue to navigate our path, let’s ensure it respects and values the potent combination of youthful innovation and seasoned experience. After all, it is by defying age-based stereotypes and embracing our strengths that we truly think ‘outside the box’.

I am proud to say I am now ticking the 60+ Box!

Charmain Gyles-Ferguson

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A few words about the article author

Dwayne Ferguson is Head of Digital at Outside The Box Recruitment.

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