Embrace "The Power Of One"

Last Monday I went to PURE – the UK’s leading fashion trade show. I first went back in July 2015, when I had just launched the-Bias-Cut.com blog, and wrote about the demoralising experience I went through. Primarily I was subjected to dismissal by designers, mostly horrified by the thought of their pieces being openly worn by women over 40. It’s fair to say I was pretty annoyed, but it also gave me further fuel for wanting to end ageism in the Fashion Industry. 

3 years later I’m pleased to say things have changed. Increasingly designers are opening their minds and embracing diversity, now eager to be seen as inclusive. Whilst it was hard to find designers wanting to be a part of the-Bias-Cut back in 2015, now we are frequently approached by brands keen to join us (note - I havn’t forgotten those what were initially so indifferent). 

But I will never forget the struggle it took to get here (and we still have a long way to go). As many of you know, I first came up with the idea for the-Bias-Cut back in 2012 whilst at university. At the time ageism within the Fashion Industry was rarely discussed; it existed but it wasn’t topical. So whenever I discussed the issue I was met with raised eyebrows or simply rejection.

This continued for several years, and even into 2016 the story was much the same. More than once I was asked “is that even an issue?”, or it was commented upon how ‘niche’ the 40+ market was. It wasn’t even just designers who were so dismissive; I was scoffed at by highly successful businessmen too, more times than I care to remember. On one occasion I was asked “does your mentor actually think it’s a good idea…?!”, and I was told by another that my business concept was “boring”. I was also told to ditch the name, come up with a new one, and for that matter actually come up with a whole new USP!

I’m pleased to say I didn’t listen to these comments, but I’m not going to pretend they didn’t upset me. They made me doubt myself an awful lot, and whether what I was doing was just futile. Surely they knew better? Even when the concept was accepted, I was told to change my business model entirely to make quick profits – with many of the suggestions, such as sticking with younger models, completely undermining the values and purpose of the-Bias-Cut in the first place.

It took time for this issue Franklin cared so much about to catch fire. But it did. Because, as she highlighted, true change takes time. It takes tenacity. And it takes consistency – always being fixed on a vision. If you look at any major disruption or revolution in history – either within the Fashion Industry or outside of it – it didn’t happen overnight. More often than not, the initial champions of change were scoffed at or ridiculed. But they pushed forward, maintaining their resilience. Fortunately I did plough on, and discovered so many women like you do share the same beliefs and values. But it can be pretty difficult to continue when it seems like no one else cares. Which is why I was so taken with Caryn Franklin’s speech “The Power Of One” last week at Pure. Franklin discussed how just one person really can make a difference, and the importance of persevering - because one day people will listen. She spoke about how much she struggled with fighting the industry’s acceptance of Terry Richardson – a photographer who had a long history of sexual assault allegation against him. It even got to the point where Franklin was just knocking on the doors of anyone who’d listen, challenging them on why they were happy to work with him. It wasn’t until the Harry Weinstein scandal that people finally did listen. She asked a publication if she could write on Richardson, and at last they were interested. The industry took notice and now, thankfully, the likes of Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair have cut all ties with him. 

Listening to Franklin discussing this gave me a new wave of confidence and determination. It reminded me to trust my instincts, and to brush off those negative comments I’ve been on the receiving end of (and continue to be at times). Franklin declared herself as a ‘Fashion Disruptor’ – which she defined as someone who loves Fashion enough to demand change, to engage, and to drive reforms where they feel they can be effective.

I like to think of myself as a Fashion Disruptor too, and you should too. If you want to see change in Fashion, whether that’s in the form of ending ageism, more diversity generally, sustainability or something else, you can do something about it. Don’t just sit by and assume you can’t do anything to change it. Whether you’re in the industry, or are a consumer, you demand change – whether that’s through voting with your wallet, writing articles, or simply vocalising your view online. You may feel no one is listening, but people are. And one day, even more will.

You have a voice, so use it and trust it. Because if I hadn’t the-Bias-Cut wouldn’t exist. So it’s time to “Embrace the Power of One.”


  • Posted by Tamsin Burford on

    Thanks Jacynth for a) doing what you do and b) for stepping up above the parapet and c) for realising there’s an issue that needs addressing.

    The Bias Cut is a wonderful place to be and to shop!

    Most of us respond to an issue which affects us directly. You didn’t do that. You looked at the wider experience and that shows real awareness, generosity of spirit and true business acumen. After all, which is the demographic with the most longevity and disposable income? Makes sense to represent!

    At my company Winternational.co.uk, we’ve faced criticism and a reluctance by fashion companies to engage fully with e-commerce. We say why not be at the forefront of entrepreneurship and customer experience, rather than relying on the old fashioned and possibly outdated. For an industry that thrives on the new, fashion can be incredibly backward. So we at Winternational.co.uk thoroughly support you all at the Bias Cut and champion the power of one and the disruptive voice!

    Thanks Jacynth!

  • Posted by Margaret Shynn on

    I am moved to post my support to Jacynth and thebiascut, and that is definitely a power of one for me as I have never posted on a blog before. Before discovering Jacynth’s deservedly growing business, I had been a savvy rather than knowledgeable garment seeker, feeling rather sorry for the bevvy of stick thin, young models that the fashion industry cocooned itself inside. Huge earnings though and plenty of investors I guess! And that to me is the fundamental issue – profit. Jacynth has shown such strength of character to fend off the negatives and to hold true to her beliefs and sound instincts and not succumb to changing her business model so that would be investors can taste a quick intake of profit. I intend to use my garment buying wallet to support thebiascut and what it stands for, and delivers daily, and to withhold its use for other businesses as my power of one. Cannot wait for thebiascut autumn/winter collection to be released! Thank you again Jacynth and the team.

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