Young at Heart: The Over 40 Shopper

River Island is launching a new womenswear brand, Harpenne, designed to fill a gap in the market for stylish and affordable clothes aimed at the over-40s.

Due to launch in September, the autumn/winter collection features items inspired by ‘culture and individuality’, designed to suit all body shapes and in colors that flatter every skin tone.

The company has described its target audience as the ‘forgotten customer’, older women who want to embrace their attitude and sense of style, no matter their age.

Aiming to move away from fashion’s fast-moving trend circle, the brand – which will source its collections ethically – intends to create timeless clothes that can be worn all year round.

The 40+ age group is certainly a lucrative one, especially in the UK with over-40s accounting for around 41% of UK fashion spend. Whether Harpenne will succeed where M&S, John Lewis, COS and many others have failed– according to River Island – is yet to be seen.

However, as recent research dubs women of 40-60 the new ‘ageless generation’ – retiring later, enjoying the same activities and influences as their younger counterparts, and feeling unrepresented by typical societal associations with older women – it is worth questioning whether the over-40s need a separate fashion brand at all.

From 73-year-old Lauren Hutton starring in a 2017 Calvin Klein campaign, to Lyn Slater (63) modeling for Mango, fashion marketing has been awash in recent years with images of women celebrated for their mature years, rather than differentiated. Perhaps it is time designers did the same?

Contributed By: Lucas Quittan, Insight & Strategy, Integer London

Image Source: Unsplash