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In the age of normcore, where black and white rule and “average” is cool, fashion can sometimes feel a bit boring. So where does an eclectic and colorful dresser turn to for more style inspiration?
Ari Seth Cohen of famed fashion blog Advanced Style has the answer: the elderly. The Brooklyn-based photographer has long admired senior citizen style and began taking photos of fashionable men and women “of a certain age” in order to showcase their unique, often ostentatious flair. So when the 32-year-old teamed up with Audicus for a limited-edition collection of hearing aids with removable decorative decals, it came as no surprise that they were just as vibrant and colorful as his stylish subjects.
“[The designs] were inspired by things I remember in my grandmother’s wardrobe, like her sparkly pink rhinestone necklace from the ’60s,” said Cohen of the collection, which features a hot pink glittering design as well as bold polka dots and leopard print patterns. “So many of the women I photograph love leopard print and graphic prints. I wanted a range of bold styles.”
In addition to helping seniors stay stylish, Cohen and Audicus also hope to break the stigma associated with aging and using tools like hearing aids. “The baby boomers expect products with great design and style,” Cohen said. “I think with by making these items more joyful and fashionable, people will be more likely to want to use them.”
Although there’s nothing in the works yet, Cohen hasn’t ruled out the possibility of collaborating on other elderly accessories including canes, walkers and eyewear. “That would be a dream come true,” he notes.
After the release of his 2014 documentary (also called Advanced Style), fashion labels have since been taking note of Cohen’s eye for senior citizens’ bold fashion and influence. Two of his subjects, Joyce Carpati and Lynn Dell, were even cast for Karen Walker’s Spring 2013 Forever sunglasses campaign. Aging style stars including Joan Didion, Helen Mirren and Jessica Lange have also been tapped for modeling contracts as part of the “old is the new black” movement that seems to be sweeping the industry.
Cohen, who also serves as an ambassador for the elderly community by raising awareness against the stigmas that come with age, has also learned a thing or two from his senior subjects. The best advice he’s received? “To never give up, to always be passionate, and to know that there is always something new to look forward to.”
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The limited-edition hearing aids are available on Audicus.com.
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