Lyn Slater had no idea her life was about to change forever when she went to meet a friend near Manhattan’s Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week in September 2014.
The 63-year-old Fordham University professor and social worker is not your typical fashion model, but as she was standing on the street waiting for her friend, photographers thought she was a fashion icon. They began snapping photos of her and attracted a crowd of spectators, who also started taking pictures. That was the moment when her life changed.
Before her serendipitous encounter with the photographers on that day, Slater ran a blog named The Accidental Icon, where she explores the use of fashion as a form of self expression. The irony of actually becoming an “accidental icon” is not lost on her.
Slater has had a long interest in fashion and as she reached her 60s, it became a way for her to confront the aging process. As an academic, she also considers the field as a serious area of study and even took classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
“I think academia has always thought that fashion is a frivolous topic,” Slater told Fordham News. “The more I research fashion, the more I realized it’s a powerful force. We talk a lot about how it’s oppressive, or how it promotes ideal body types, but we don’t talk about how it can be productive.”
A few weeks after that fateful day near Lincoln Center, Slater’s picture was published in Downtown Magazine, and that put her and her fashion blog in the spotlight. She quickly gained fame as a fashion icon and that launched her new career path as a senior model.
She has since appeared in editorial fashion campaigns and has even been signed to Elite London, one of the world’s top modeling agencies. She also campaigns against age-based stigma in the fashion industry. To see more of Slater’s iconic style, follow her on Instragam.