Lyn Slater, who holds a PhD in social welfare and teaches at Fordham University, was waiting for a friend at lunchtime in New York City when two Japanese reporters started taking her picture.
In a qui-pro-quo turned reality, a 63-year-old university professor has become a glamorous model after reporters confused her with a fashion star.
Lyn Slater, who holds a PhD in social welfare and teaches at Fordham University’s School Of Social Service, was waiting for a friend at lunchtime outside Lincoln Center a few years ago when two Japanese reporters started taking her picture.
Her stylish outfit, a Yohji Yamamoto suit paired with a Chanel bag, caused them to think she was a fashion industry insider – and accidentally launched her modeling career.
‘All of a sudden these photographers started to surround me and take pictures of me, ‘ Slater told TODAY Style in a previous interview.
‘A couple of journalists from Japan had approached me and were asking questions. Tourists started to see this and thought, “That must be some important person in fashion!” so they started to take pictures of me. I had a huge crowd of people around me.’
The professor, whose work has addressed child abuse and family violence, found a new line of work after the encounter. Inspired by a friend’s words, she created her blog, Accidental Icon, to document her interest in fashion and show that people of all ages can dress fabulously.
Slater, who teaches at Fordham’s School Of Social Service, quickly attracted thousands of followers of all ages.
‘I get a lot of emails from younger people saying … you’re making us feel like getting old is fun and cool, and that you can do whatever you want at whatever age, ‘ she told TODAY. ‘A lot of the comments on my Instagram are “life goals.” ‘
The industry caught on her keen sense of style, and in January this year, Slater was signed by Elite London.
She has posed for several high-profile brands, including Comme Des Garcons, Mango and Valentino.
Through her fashionable photos, Slater has fought back against the fashion industry’s ageism and the idea that people should stop wearing what they want after they reach a certain age.
The model proudly told Refinery29 she chooses to ignore ‘all’ of the rules that make up the conventional wisdom in that area.
‘Don’ t wear mini skirts, don’ t wear crop tops, don’ t expose your cleavage, don’ t wear low-rise jeans — I ignore them. Age is never a variable I use to make decisions about what I wear, ‘ she said.
Instead of letting rules dictate her personal style, Slater is adamant about wearing what she feels comfortable in – and says it has impacted her personality for the best.
‘There’s actual science that shows how [what you’re wearing] impacts your ability to perform and your emotions, ‘ she added. ‘It’s called enclothed cognition. And for me, the way that I’ ve been embracing clothing and reinventing myself at this time in my life is making me young.’