Ageless Style Created by Olivia Ann May

Student Addresses Ageism in Fashion


Glamour, sophistication and style are not often associated with fashion for the over 60s – but an up and coming designer from Middlesex University, London is aiming to change this with a new collection shown for the first time this week, modelled by star 83 year old catwalker Daphne Selfe. 


Models come out onto the catwalk led by Jan de Villeneuve


Olivia Ann May, 22, is so passionate about how older people look and concerned by the ageism which exists in fashion, she has created a collection for women over 60. Her hope is to bring a new sense of style to the wardrobes of Britain’s older people.




The final-year fashion textiles student from the small north Devon village of Umberleigh said: “How the elderly dress is being forgotten about in the fashion industry and the outfits you find on the high street for this age group are boring. I am passionate about how older people look – glamour, sophistication and style are all things I want to bring to their every day dress.




“We are working later, and women still need a working wardrobe into their 60s and 70s. Generally there is nothing around which can make an older women feel fabulous and this needs to change.”




Olivia’s designs headed down the catwalk at the Middlesex University fashion degree show this evening (Thursday 26 April) and unlike her fellow students whose collections will be sported by more conventional professional models, Olivia sourced three senior models for the show; 83 year old Daphne Selfe, 68 year old Jan de Villeneuve and 62 year old Pam Lucas.



83-year-old Daphne Selfe on the catwalk


Commenting on Olivia’s work, 83 year old model Daphne Selfe, said: “It’s fantastic! The pieces are suitable for my age, and yet they’re colourful and unusual. The colour is lovely, in London we always have so much black, black is a kind of uniform for London, so it’s nice to wear some colour for a change. I very much like working amongst young people – I’m looking forward to seeing what the other students have on show today.”




Alongside Olivia’s collection were some 70 other fashion and fashion textile students all using the show to compete for a place at a Middlesex University event at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, later this year. Top UK fashion designers including Louise Gray and Carolyn Massey were at the show, deciding who to put forward to the Old Truman Brewery.




Currently living in north London, Olivia said: “I moved to London because this is the home of fashion. I would love to open my own boutique here with fashion for elderly women.”



L-R Jan de Villeneuve, Olivia Ann May, Daphne Self, Pam Lucas






The Middlesex University BA Fashion and BA Fashion Textiles degree show took place on Thursday 26 April from 5-7pm at Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, The Burroughs, London, NW4 4BT




Richard Hayward


PR and Communications Officer


Middlesex University


The Burroughs | London NW4 4BT | UK


Tel: 0208 411 6761