News & Runway

This Russian Modeling Agency Only Represents Older Models

A modeling agency that only represents women age 45 and above? In an industry that historically puts models out to pasture after age 30 (with very few exceptions), it’s a revolutionary concept. But that’s just what former street style photographer Igor Gavar did in establishing Oldushka, a one-year-old, Moscow-based company that flouts traditional fashion rules. As the name implies, Oldushka is committed to finding work for “aged” models and broadening their career opportunities. The agency currently represents 18 models, ages 45 to 85, based in cities all across Russia.

“Beauty — it’s a quality that becomes more valued with years,” Gavar told Vogue. “I met some very interesting faces, and I wanted to do a separate project with them. A modeling agency became that sort of project.”

Gavar couldn’t have chosen a better time to pursue his passion. The fashion industry’s narrow definition of beauty — one that elevates those who are young, white, tall, thin and cisgender — has begun to expand. Women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond turned up more this Fashion Month than during any season in recent memory. The Fall 2017 runways of Dries Van Noten, Dolce & Gabbana, Simone Rocha, Guo Pei, Gareth Pugh, Tome and more celebrated older women’s beauty. Lonely Clothing recently cast 56-year-old Mercy Brewer for its Spring 2017 lingerie presentation. Sports Illustrated shot industry vet Christie Brinkley for its latest Swimsuit Issue.

Russian brands are likewise interested in silver-haired beauties like those on Gavar’s roster. Oldushka signees have appeared in Russian department store TSUM’s Fall 2017 lookbook, in local mags like Afisha and in a Saint Laurent Russia campaign. It seems labels worldwide have caught on to the fact that their models should reflect the women who, for the most part, financially enable their existence.

Oldushka is but one of an ever-increasing number of fringe agencies (other notables include JAG Models, Trans Models and Slay Model management) helping to diversify the talent pool. In advocating for their charges, in representing these models as themselves, in putting them out there for the world to see, these agencies are helping to fight stereotypes and dispel the obsolete notion that beauty is at all connected to age, skin tone, size or gender identity. Though Gavar’s board certainly depicts certain cultural standard of beauty (whiteness, thinness), we respect his concept and hope to see similar agencies pop up stateside — soon.

[ via Vogue ]