Lyn Slater, our fabulous #VOZWOMAN of the Spring, is a Professor at Fordam University, world-renowned fashion model, and woman behind the sensational blog Accidental Icon. She celebrates original and diverse style, sustainable fashion, and beauty in all forms. As a social worker, intellect, and style icon, Lyn is our muse and inspiration!
Photography by Osvaldo Ponton
Styled by Jose Miguel Dao
Hair and Makeup by Joseph Carrillo
You've come to blogging and modeling after a lifelong career as professor and social worker. How did the breadth and depth of human experiences in this path create your unique perspective on fashion?
My career in social work has taught me three important lessons. The first is that difference is exciting, expansive and helps you to understand multiple points of view. Being around others who are different allowed me to experience the world through many lens which has made my life richer. It has also taught me to always challenge the status quo. Finally social work draws on many different theories and disciplines which again has expanded my perspective. So I can hold the beautiful and not so beautiful aspects of the fashion system together while we figure out how to make change.
What brings you the most joy in writing and publishing your blog, Accidental Icon?
Helping people of all ages to accept who they are, not follow rules that are meant to limit and control you if that is not what you want and to not waste time worrying about things that are inevitable like aging.
What is one value you are most passionate to share with your fans?
Being your authentic self, accepting your good parts and your flaws and realizing beauty comes from the inside out.
How is the uniqueness of womanhood reflected in your personal style?
I think that there are many sides to women and I reflect the notion of multiple aspects of self presentation in my style.
Your partner in life and art, Calvin, has been your fashion photographer from day one. What is it like to develop a major artistic movement with your partner, how has the journey been for you?
Initially although we had worked out our emotional partnership and how to negotiate a long term relationship, having an artistic partnership was something different. We had some struggles in the beginning as we are both control freaks but like every other challenge we faced out mutual love and respect and our problem solving process got us through it. Usually it is really just us having a lot of fun. Calvin has his own work as a photographer so he just sees this as something that helps me out, he does not see it really as his art.
What does being powerful mean to you? How do you use your personal power?
It means feeling that all choices about you belong to you and acting that way in the world. I use my power to educate and encourage everyone to embrace who they are unapologetically and to be thoughtful about how what they do impacts others and the earth. Fashion and beauty should be pleasurable not create stress or anxiety. I try to use my power to advance those ideas.
Fashion now offers an engaging way to get people involved in having important conversations about important issues.
How are you inviting the fashion industry to evolve through your message? What shifts have you observed and enacted through writing, speaking, and modeling?
Inclusion and diversity is one issue and sustainability another. Although there has been some change and much more conversation, we still have much work to do to move beyond tokenism and marketing ploys. For example,I am still seen and portrayed as someone exotic because I am older and successful on Instagram rather than being acknowledged for being good at influencing and engaging period. Despite my numbers, I am only ever featured with other older persons. It feels like being forced to live in a senior living community even though most people in my “digital family” are creative and younger than me.
Why is fashion your medium of choice for social activism and expression?
Everyone loves fashion and many people in fashion have decided that given what is going on culturally that it is time to get political. So fashion now offers an engaging way to get people involved in having important conversations about important issues.
How would you define beauty?
In the eye of the beholder.
Follow Lyn Slater on Instagram