“I started thinking about my mum (a former solicitor turned Director in Compliance), who increasingly struggled to find clothes she loved and felt great in, as she aged. Hence, the-Bias-Cut.com was born.” Blogger Lucy Fry catches up with Jacynth Bassett, founder of the-Bias-Cut.com, the first age-inclusive online premium fashion boutique and the campaign Ageism Is Never In Style.
LC: What is the-Bias-Cut.com and what do you do that’s different from other online boutiques?
JB: The-Bias-Cut.com – Shopping With Attitude – is the first age-inclusive, independent designers’ online boutique. Our mission is to cut through ageism in the fashion industry, as a shopping destination and platform that truly empowers women of all ages, defies stereotypes, and encourages women to embrace and be the best version of themselves today.
We uniquely curate our collections with the stylish, grown-up, discerning woman in mind. Our collections feature independent designers you won’t find easily elsewhere, as well as my exclusive eponymous label Jacynth London, and we focus on quality, flattering cut and modern style in equal measure. Overall we have 30+ independent labels, each selected for its unique – often playful – point of view, and we’re particularly known for our love of colour, fun prints, tactical fabrics and attention to detail. We’re certainly not the place to go for basics, but our pieces are very versatile and will always make the wearer feel fabulous.
In line with our age-inclusive ethos, our models are ‘real women’ of different shapes, heights, sizes and ethnicities. And customers can shop by their body shape and tailored filters such as areas they want to cover or show off. We’re primarily based online, but we host pop-up shops around the UK so customers can explore, feel and try on our collections.
We also have a movement called Ageism Is Never In Style, which unites women and men globally to further the conversation, inspire one another, and push for change. It also includes a badge campaign – as seen at London Fashion Week – and hosts panel events.
LC: How did studying law at Cambridge influence your choices / your decision to set up the-Bias-Cut.com?
JB: I had always intended to become a barrister from the age of 13, but while studying Law I wasn’t passionate enough about it for a career. However, as President of one of the biggest law societies in the world, my responsibilities included chairing a committee of 20+ students; personally negotiating sponsorship (which I increased by 25% despite economic hardship); resolving a long-term confidential financial issue; and restructuring the society to become stable and sustainable. I loved every aspect of it, so it became clear business was the right path for me!
Fashion had always been a passion of mine from a young age, so it felt natural to enter into the industry. But equally I wanted to make a difference. Soon I started thinking about my mum (a former solicitor turned director in compliance) and how she increasingly struggled to find clothes she loved and would feel great in as she got older. So that’s how the idea of the-Bias-Cut.com was born.
LC: What does it mean to you to be ‘age-inclusive’?
JB: Age inclusivity means celebrating women (and men) at every age, and encouraging them to proudly embrace and be proud of who they are today. We live in a ageist society where youth is craved, and ageing is something to be ashamed of. This is particularly true in fashion and beauty, which consistently reinforces this message through promoting anti-ageing products, only featuring younger models, and most brands seemingly treating people as invisible or irrelevant as they age. And those few brands that do target older consumers, tend to treat them as secondary, or assume they’re no longer interested in style and just want easy, boring clothing, elasticated waste bands and so on.
At the-Bias-Cut.com, our mission is to cut through this age bias, and prove that women can be modern and stylish at any age. This doesn’t mean treating age as completely irrelevant – women’s bodies do change as they age, along with their lifestyle and preferences, so it is important to recognise and cater to that. But aesthetically speaking, style is ageless; so our clothes are pieces that women of any age would love to wear. So being age-inclusive means that we understand and champion this, openly welcoming of all ages to shop with us.
LC: How is age-inclusivity related to sustainability?
JB: By curating ageless, quality collections, not only are our customers investing in pieces for themselves, but they can be enjoyed by their mothers and daughters too. We have lots of customers who share our pieces with their daughters because they both love them – they simply style them differently. This means the garments have better cost per wear and longevity, and reduces the need to buy more overall.
LC: What are the main things you believe consumers (and readers of our blog) should consider when shopping, in order to help reduce the negative impact of the fashion industry?
JB: The key is to shop smart and responsibly – be well informed and make sensible purchases. There’s a lot of information out there now on the sustainable and ethical practises of businesses, so you can educate yourself and make sure you buy only from brands that uphold the values you care about. I also recommend investing a little more in quality, as the pieces will last much longer. Discovering smaller independent labels is a good way to find unusual, quality designs. Unfortunately there are a lot of misconceptions about the price of clothes due to cheap, disposable fast fashion at one end of the spectrum, and over-inflated designer prices at the other. Quality does cost more, as do ethical and sustainable practices, but typically it is the smaller, independent designers in the middle who have tighter margins, and offer great quality at very reasonable prices.
Cost Per Wear is a good measure of sustainability, so when choosing which pieces to invest in, it’s worth honestly considering how much wear you (any maybe others) will really get out of it. It’s why, at the-Bias-Cut.com, we’ve introduced the Cost Per Wear Calculator – a first of its kind – that helps you quickly calculate how much value you’ll get out of a garment.