In place of the traditional conference networking event – we hosted a Fashion Parade for models aged 65+. The Fashion Parade was called SPUNK. Spunk is an attitude - it is about courage, determination, pluck, spirit, strength, fortitude, guts and grit. In Australia, 'a spunk' is also a person who is sexually attractive.
The Fashion Parade invited participants and delegates to think about beauty is an attitude. We asked our models to tell us what their cat walk attitude was. We also invited our models to think about taking their catwalk attitude into everyday life as a protective factor against ageism. It’s about not waiting for the world to be less ageist - it’s about living our lives to the full right now.
The Fashion Parade challenged the ageist misconception that beauty is limited to youth. We suggest that beauty changes as we age – but is not less. We wanted to show how older people have grace, style and a sense of play. The Parade celebrated 38 models of a range of body shapes, genders and skin colours.
On this page we share details of the two entertainment sets, the six runways, the interactive art project and the very positive feedback on the Fashion Parade. Thankyou to the City of Ballarat for sponsoring the Fashion Parade and thank you to all the sponsors of Embolden2018 listed below.
Thanks to Chris Franklin for producing three beautiful films from a Fashion Parade Called SPUNK. Please also see Runway6 for LGBTI Elder's perspectives on beauty and their film and the Bush Blokes page for their film and message for older farmers.
Runway 1: Belly Dancers
Maria Makarides is a 75 year old belly dance instructor who teaches at the Nunawading U3A. Maria’s oldest dancer is 78 and the average age of her troupe at Embolden2018 was 71. Maria says: Belly dancing’s creativity and sense of fun connects women of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. Basic to all dances is a sense of celebration. The word dance itself comes from the Sanskrit word TANHA, meaning Joy Of Life. We dance then as an affirmation that Life Goes On despite of everything. Older Ladies enjoy belly dancing because it is a sensual and glamorous dance, and if you always wanted to feel glamorous but you never had the opportunity this is it. For us older People it is so much easier to make movements with music. It gives us the opportunity to meld with the music and express our individuality by choreographing the steps as we dance. It’s very good for the body as you can modify to suit you. It’s a Womanly dance. It makes us feel very happy and gives us an acceptance of our body. Practicing the steps exercises our brain which is very good for our mental health. Dancers: Maria Makarides, Thelma Rades, Diane Hardy, Melanie Farrow and Cynthia Morris
Runway 2: Mimi the Label
Mimi the Label is the new baby of Margot & Alan Spalding (of Jimmy Possum fame). Margot and Jimmy hand make Australian fashion pieces to dress stylish women. We love following Margot (former Telstra Businesswoman of the Year) on Instagram. Mimi the Label’s fabrics and designs are bright and bold and made in Bendigo, in Northern Victoria. Models: Sarah Hoy, Julie Coyne, Okty Harsono, Mary Deakin, Jacqui Marshall, Zerin Knight.
Runway 3 - Bush Blokes
This runway features Blokes from the Bush who payed tribute to the Flannelette shirt. The models have been asked to think about attitudes that not only carry them through an ageist world – but also help them through the tough times on the land. The Blokes included Cr Ken Clarke OAM – Mayor of Wangaratta who liaised with the print and radio media before the event to raise awareness of the need to challenge ageism. Models: Cr Ken Clarke OAM, Robert Floyd and Ray Newland
Runway 4 - Diwali Dress
Members of the Ashburton Guajarati Senior Citizens Group and South Indian Elders modelled the saree and the kurta pajama to celebrate Diwali. The Festival of Diwali symbolises the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Models: Dashrath Pandya, Himanshu and Parul Desai, Shefali Desai, Mohan and Bhanu Raskutti
Runway 5 - Dawn Quick & the Y tappers
Dawn Quick is an 86 year old tap dance instructor who teaches at the MacLeod YMCA. Dawn delivered a plenary presentation – sharing her insights on the importance of tap dancing to the women she teaches. This is Dawn’s abstract:
Dawn is 86 years old and is still teaching tap dancing to older ladies. She has danced nearly all her life and says she didn't have much choice as her sister Norma, who is 100 in November, taught tap dancing in Collingwood. At 66 Dawn retired and resumed the dancing she loved. In 2001 she started teaching older ladies who wanted to dance. Even though she did not have certificates etc, she found she had a way of being able to teach them, even if they didn't finish up like Ginger Rogers. Just seeing the ladies develop and enjoy doing something they were not able to do when they were children gives her more joy and satisfaction than she imagined. Some older people curl up and do nothing. They stagnate. Tapping is a way of getting out and enjoying life, being connected, stimulating memory and lifting the spirit. Dawn is just so proud of her ladies when they dance in front of an audience, she could burst. Dancers: Dawn Quick, Maria Makrides, Melanie Farrow, Thelma Rades, Jill Stacey, Alison Anthony, Beverley Neylon
Runway 6 - Eternal Love
The Bayside Seven celebrated love and romance and opshop chique. Outfits were supplied by Family Life op shops, an independent community organisation working with vulnerable families. The Bayside Seven included a tribute to Marriage Equality and were keen to ensure that the Fashion Parade included affordable fashion. Models: Pauline Dallimore, Craig Dallimore, Sandra Williams, Ian Binger, Judy Webb, Susan Harworth, Pamela Thomas.
Runway 7 - Qípáo
Qípáo is a symbol of Chinese culture that was worn by nobles in the Qing dynasty. It is a typical costume that blends the inner beauty and outer beauty in harmony. The Qípáo was modelled by women from the Australian Chinese Women’s Association and the Glen Eira Chinese Senior Citizens Club. Models: May Hu, Linying Yang, Haifang Fan, Fengtong Chen, Yu Xiao, Ruqiong Cao, Juhua Zhang, Xiaohua Zhang, Nianhua Wang, Likan Hu.
Runway 8 - F.L.U.I.D
Artist Douglas McManus works with digital technologies as well as traditional print techniques – creating unique works on paper and textiles by intentionally altering the accuracy of digital printers and laser cutters. McManus, a gay man, has styled LGBTI Elders who are modelling Proud. Models: Sally Conning, David Morrison, June Lowe, Gordon Wilson, Max Primmer.