Why I choose to work with older models (or is age nothing to do with it?)

Any cursory glance through the images of my collections will make it quite clear that I like to use “real” women to model my work. Although to be honest I am not sure what other sort there is – Hadley Freeman (as always) makes the point far better than I can.

To me it equates to: “women who look great in hats but do not portray too narrow a perspective of female beauty” (to paraphrase Hadley). In truth, I feel they more closely represent the women who will be buying and wearing my hats, and I just feel more comfortable with this. I also should pay credit to Sean and Katariina of course (my wonderful make up artist and photographer) who “get” this approach completely.

My models have  usually been friends or colleagues. So perhaps it is only by coincidence that they have also been similar in age to me (or at least within a decade or so!). Whatever the reasons I am very happy indeed to continue with this theme – and in the meantime here is the roll call of the last four seasons’ models:

SS17 – Laura Darling

Laura is a copywriter and co-founder of Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce’s Creative Hub. I suspect she could now forge an additional career though, don’t you? Laura and I met through business networking (yes we all have to do it). Find out more about her work here:


AW16-17 – Niki Smith

I had to spend some time persuading Niki to model at all. She had been asked before but hadn’t felt comfortable with the idea. The fact that I work with a lovely woman photographer and one of the most fun make up artists in Brighton clinched it in the end and we had a fantastic shoot. I’ve heard awful tales from friends about dreadful shoots with difficult people, but I have to say every time our little team have got together we have had such a laugh and I get to the end of the day really uplifted. Niki is a teaching assistant so a long day’s modelling was probably a breeze compared with what she usually has to cope with.

SS16 – Joanna Ashka Armstrong

I just love this photo. Ashka and I have known each other for years and lived over the street from each other when our children were tiny. She is one of the most energy filled and  positive people I know. And (lucky, lucky Brighton business people) she is an accountant.  So if you want help from someone who understands your creative streak and can make you smile while she sorts out your tax affairs, look no further than www.armstrongcary.co.uk

AW15-16 – Sarah Cutting


Last but by NO means at all least is the fabulous Sara (AKA Fizzy Snood, Chemo Snood Head) fundraiser extraordinaire and ambassador for Macmillan.  I lent Sara some hats to wear – she gets through a lot of headgear – take a look here to find out why that is!

*Ahem* quick plug: Sara is running the London Marathon this weekend and you can sponsor her Right Here

Those of you with an eye on the seasons will know that I am looking for a new model for AW17-18. If you would like to model for me, or know someone else who would, please get in touch. I guarantee we’ll have fun. Why not take a look at my blog post on the last AW shoot?

Photography: Light Trick Photography

Make up: Sean Chapman MUA




3 thoughts on “Why I choose to work with older models (or is age nothing to do with it?)

  1. It’s true, I was a very reluctant model for AW16-17, unsure what to expect; but I had a brilliant day. You all just made it easy and so much more fun than I anticipated. So, to anyone else who is considering it, truly, don’t hesitate! It’s a really positive experience!


  2. Having read an excellent piece by one of my heroes – Hadley Freeman – on the term “real women” I have rewritten this post slightly: ALL women are real women. I am not trying to take a swipe at models – just the often impossible and narrow definition of beauty they are so often required to portray in their jobs. There, I feel better now!


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