Debenhams targets forgotten women with ground breaking campaign

From: Debenhams
Published: Wed Sep 29 2010

Debenhams breaks yet another fashion industry taboo, becoming the first retailer to launch a campaign featuring models in their 40s, 50s and 60s to target 'forgotten women' rather than using models under 25 who usually dominate high fashion and high street imagery.

The campaign, which the retailer is calling 'The Style List' is an industry first and sees Debenhams joining forces with fashion commentator and diversity campaigner Caryn Franklin.

The Style List will give ongoing solutions, advice and guidance on how women 40+ can achieve any desired look, whether it be evening, day or weekend wear. This will be delivered in stores, online and through photography used by Debenhams.

There are three looks highlighted in the launch campaign; Power Dress, All Woman and Casual Cool. Windows will convey each look along with tips in how to make them work for everyone, whatever their age, from expert Caryn.

"The days are long gone when hitting 50 meant you were relegated to dowdy cardigans and baggy knits.  This group of women aren't communicated to by the fashion press and retailers with models of their own age.  We wanted to be the first to put this right'' said Michael Sharp, Debenhams deputy chief executive.

"Today's 40 + women can easily achieve fashionability and enjoy trends traditionally worn by consumers half their age. Through The Style List we will be the only retailer on the high street showing them how", added Mr Sharp.

Caryn Franklin, fashion commentator and campaigner for diversity said; "I wanted to work with a retailer who would acknowledge the lack of good fashion imagery aimed at middle aged and older women and was ready to change things.''

"It's a business savvy move - Debenhams have great designer product and an excellent personal shopping service, so they are perfectly placed.

"It's been really fulfilling to create shots that celebrate the wonder of getting older.  It's important to challenge what we see in our media with a broader reflection of beauty. Enjoy the magic of these women, their confidence, their attitudes and their allure. These wonderful faces express the joy of getting older - not something we see enough of."

The ground breaking imagery features fashion advice at street level, along with mannequins and product in a how-to window display to launch The Style List.

Debenhams will shortly begin a nationwide search for a fourth face to join The Style List model line-up later this autumn.

Through its use of photography both online, in windows and in advertising, Debenhams is the UK's only retailer to commit to reflecting its diverse customer base through representative imagery.

The move comes as a next step for Debenhams, who have been trailblazing inclusivity campaigns of late, carrying out activity involving national window campaigns featuring disabled model Shannon Murray, un-airbrushed swim models, size 16 mannequins and plus size and petite models – all since the start of 2010.

The retailer hopes the launch of The Style List will alert other retailers to the needs and wants of this seemingly overlooked market of fashion savvy shoppers, and spur them to follow suit.

The images can be seen in Debenhams' Oxford Street windows and online at with further activity scheduled in all stores across the UK and Ireland.


About Debenhams:
Debenhams is a leading department stores group with a strong presence in key product categories including womenswear with Purses and women's jackets, menswear with cardigans and mens jackets, childrens clothes, home and health and beauty. Debenhams is the second largest department store chain in the UK.

Debenhams operates 167 stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Denmark, comprising 154 full departments stores and 13 Desire by Debenhams stores, which is a small store concept featuring an edited product range. Debenhams also has 60 international franchise stores in 23 countries.

For further media information, please contact:
Michelle Dowdall
PR Manager - Lingerie, Childrenswear and Home
33 Wigmore Street
020 7529 0449
Company: Debenhams
Contact Name: Michelle Dowdall
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 020 7529 0449

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