63-Year-Old Teacher Combats Ageism After Journalists Accidentally Turn Her Into Fashion Icon

The Professor is now signed with Elite London and uses her platform to speak out against ageism in modern society and the fashion industry. While walking to meet a friend for lunch outside the Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week, Fordham University professor Lyn Slater had no idea her life was about to change. Abruptly, a hoard of foreign journalists surrounded her, taking her picture in haste. According to Brightside, the spectators believed she was a reputable fashion icon.

Credit: Lyn Slater/BoredPanda

“The photographers surrounded me and began taking pictures,“ recalls Lyn. ”Two Japanese journalists began asking questions. Tourists started gathering and taking videos and photos on their phones, thinking they had come across a major figure in the fashion industry. I was confused, but it was at that moment that my friend arrived, and we started laughing at the situation. She said to me, ’Wow, you’ve unexpectedly become a style icon.’ “

That defining moment not only turned the 63-year-old teacher into a fastidiously-followed fashionista, it gave her a platform to combat ageism – which she does with pleasure. Because Slater is over the age of 60, an age many in American culture believe makes one “obsolete,” she is often told to “dress for her age.” In response to such statements, Slater replies:

“I think, if you are comfortable in what you’re wearing, no matter how old you are and you’re owning it, you’re going to look completely fine.”

Credit: Lyn Slater

She told Refinery29 in a 2016 interview that she decries age-based discrimination both in everyday life and in the fashion industry because the clothes don’t make the person. Rather, the person adds personality and character to the attire. She shares similar sentiments on her blog Accidental Icon and when giving interviews. For instance, she told Grey Magazine, “Fashion and my style help me struggle against that invisibility that comes with age.”

After unintentionally becoming a fashion icon, Slater was signed to model for Elite London, the world’s leading modeling agency. Since then, she has worked with brands such as Mango and Uniqlo. Her fierce attitude and unstoppable demeanor are what makes her an inspiring activist. Of course, having great style and a bold presence helps, as well. And, it’s safe to say many have been empowered by her example.

“Girls often come up to me on the street and ask what I’m wearing,” Slater wrote. “Young people often write the following to me: I was so scared of getting old, but thanks to you I’m no longer worried. I realized we can keep a hold of our rebellious spirit and look good at any age. Thank you!”

Follow Slater on Instagram, where she’s already gained over 132K followers, and on her blog.

63-Year-Old Lyn Slater accidentally became a fashion icon 

Credit: Lyn Slater

She was walking to meet her friend during New York Fashion Week when journalists surrounded her 

Credit: Lyn Slater

They began taking her picture. Soon after, a crowd formed. 

Credit: Lyn Slater

She and her friend laughed about the situation… 

Credit: Lyn Slater

Credit: Lyn Slater

…but the incident ended up changing her life. 

Credit: Lyn Slater

Lyn Slater now models for Elite London, and has worked with brands such as Mango and Uniqlo. 

Credit: Lyn Slater

Slater is still a Professor at Fordham University

Credit: Lyn Slater

But is now known for her excellent taste in fashion.

Credit: Lyn Slater

 

Slater uses her platform, and her blog Accidental Icon,

Credit: Lyn Slater

to speak out against ageism in the fashion industry and the world

Credit: Lyn Slater

Credit: Lyn Slater

“Fashion and my style help me struggle against that invisibility that comes with age,” she told Brightside.

Credit: Lyn Slater

“…We use language to control people’s behavior… This phrase is a way of putting older women in their place” she told Refinery29 in 2016.

Credit: Lyn Slater

When people tell her to “dress for her age,” she says… 

Credit: Lyn Slater

“I’m certain that if you feel comfortable in your own clothes, it’s completely irrelevant how old you are” 

Credit: Lyn Slater

Written  for True Activist