Thursday 19 September 2019

Lost no more - Golden Spiderweb's designs for fashionable women aged 45-plus


Dress, €55; necklace, €35, both Golden Spiderweb
Dress, €55; necklace, €35, both Golden Spiderweb
Top, €35; cotton trousers, €39; necklace, €32, all Golden Spiderweb. Shoes, €37, River island

If ever I saw confirmation that the single best anti-ageing ingredient is confidence, then Cork model Pat Walker, who features on our pages today, is it. When you have an attitude of loving life and embracing your value in it, no amount of Photoshop or plastic surgery could improve on that. Pat, aged 62, is, quite simply, pure stunning.

As regular readers know, I feel I have been bashing my head against a brick wall in dealing with the fashion industry these last 20 years on the issue of age. The resistance to using age-appropriate, older models is huge.

No wonder older women feel unlovable and lacking in any sense of what they are supposed to be - where are their role models?

Where are images of them in advertising, fashion and so on? Sometimes I feel the only place I see older women is in TV ads for funeral insurance.

Top, €35; cotton trousers, €39; necklace, €32, all Golden Spiderweb. Shoes, €37, River island
Top, €35; cotton trousers, €39; necklace, €32, all Golden Spiderweb. Shoes, €37, River island

I want to see older women working, dancing, having adventures, dating, active! Looking happy and strong and beautiful, because that is where I hope to be when I am older. How can we be something if we can't see it ahead of us?

Retailers are mad if they think that millennials, Gen X-ers and other 'young' generations are going to find ageing any easier than the baby boomers. Eventually, fashion and retail are going to have to change and improve their manners.

But today I have cause to celebrate on this issue. Irish company Golden Spiderweb, which has eight fashion stores around the country, was founded by husband-and-wife team Gerry and Ann Robinson in 2008, with the specific aim of serving fashionable women aged 45-plus.

This year, the company celebrates its 10th birthday, and bright and happy confidence abounds in its stores. If you think you knew Golden Spiderweb, then look again.

Right now, its fashion floor is full of mainly separates and dresses, in jaunty prints and flattering colours, oozing femininity and happy life-force. Most are made in skin-cooling, natural fabrics and blends, something women need during the temperature fluctuations of warm weather, menopause, illness, treatment, and so on.

Golden Spiderweb clothes are designed (mainly in Italy) with knowledge of how best to flatter a body that may no longer be as it used to be, in sizes 12-22, and feel super comfortable.

"I wear the clothes I sell," Ann tells me. "There are enough people out there looking after the [size] eight to 12 market. I am interested in the size 12-plus market. We merchandise the store through creating outfits. That way, it is easier for women to see how it will look. Women get lost with their clothing as they get older. We want to give women confidence. At this stage in our lives, we have done our part for Ireland. We've paid our dues. Now it is our time. We are worth it."

Photography by Anita Sadowska

Styling by Carmel Daly

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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