Model Behavior

After Becoming An ‘Accidental Icon,’ 63-Year-Old Lyn Slater Is An Inspiration To Fashionistas Of All Ages

"All of these people thought I was involved in the fashion world."

Model Behavior is an A Plus series featuring fashion models who promote body positivity, and work to create inclusivity and diversity within the industry by expanding our definition of conventional beauty.

Two years ago, 63-year-old Fordham University professor and social worker Lyn Slater, PhD., was waiting outside of Lincoln Center to meet a friend for lunch when she was swarmed by cameras. With New York Fashion Week going on nearby, photographers and tourists assumed she was a runway model. 

"Then two journalists from Japan came over to interview me because all of these people thought I was involved in the fashion world," Slater told A Plus.

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"When my friend arrived, and there was a crowd around me, she said, 'oh my, you are an accidental icon.' "

The experience gave Slater — who has always considered fashion an integral part of her daily routine — an extra push to explore the passion more deeply. "I have always been someone who is constantly evolving and taking advantage of various opportunities that come my way. It has changed my daily life, and what I do every day, more than anything else."

It also gave her the perfect name for her fashion blog, Accidental Icon. Slater was inspired to create the blog because she couldn't find another platform that spoke to women like her: "[Women] who are urban, modern, creative, ordinary and wanted not just to look at fashion, but to think and talk about it," she said. 

So, Slater decided she'd create such a platform herself.

"This was really a passion project for me because I love fashion and wanted a new way to express myself creatively. I am a person who thinks inclusively and that is my approach to and belief about fashion."

Slater's life has changed a lot since becoming an accidental icon outside of Lincoln Center. She's now a model, represented by Elite Model Management, and is featured in Mango's new "A Story of Uniqueness" campaign, celebrating "people embracing their own selves, their own talents, passions, strengths and weaknesses." She has over 200,000 followers on Instagram, and continues to regularly update her blog with new content. 

Although Slater doesn't consider age when she's getting dressed or creating content, as a successful 63-year-old style blogger and model, she's helping to shatter age biases and show that fashion has no limitations. She shares stunning photos of herself with minimal or no edits, embracing her grey hair and wrinkles. 

"Most of my followers on Instagram are between 18-35. My blog readers are persons, again of all ages, who are passionate about fashion, want to have a conversation about it and are also reinventing themselves in some way," Slater said. "I think my message is the same for anyone regardless of their positionally. That is accept yourself, be the best you can be given where you are at in life, don't compare yourself to anyone else and don't be afraid to take some risks. Those characteristics will make you very attractive in the world."

"My hashtag is #AgeIsNotAVariable because I do not think of categories like age, or even gender, when I am getting dressed."

In addition to breaking barriers in the fashion world, Slater is proof that being a fashion icon doesn't mean living a frivolous life. For the past 17 years, she's been a clinical associate professor at Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service. She co-authored Social Work Practice and the Lawa text often used in college courses. She's also the former director of the Child Sexual Abuse Project at Lawyers for Children and has served as an expert on child abuse for the New York City Family Courts. 

Now, how's that for inspiring? 

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