‘Gramparents’ is Making the Case for Senior Style
Elderly essentials are bucking today’s turbo-charged trend cycles, as a new exhibition between the Instagram account and Studio Nicholson is set to spotlight.
Its rise to prominence among the younger generations is in no small part due to an Instagram account named @gramparents, which was started up by creative consultant Kyle Kivijärvi back in 2016. Since, the page has racked up over 250,000 followers who have become disciples of the discerning drip displayed by the senior citizens who hit the grid.
For Kivijärvi, the fascination began after working a summer job in a retirement home back in his hometown of Seattle, where he learned more about generational attitudes to style through the personal flair and tastes of the residents. Clothing seen on the account tends to be practical, yet polished. Historic brands like Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, and Barbour feature heavily, while flat caps, camel trench coats and quilted jackets are the sort of items rocked on the regular by subjects.
He began posting on @gramparents more regularly in New York in order to document the residents as seasoned heads of street fashion and sartorial excellence – describing the resulting images as a “breath of fresh air” on social at the time. “It was just different content, that most people weren’t used to consuming,” he told Hypebeast.“I’m not the first person to ever photograph a stylish older person but at that point I’d never seen a page quite like it so I decided to create something new that was about something old.”
The rise of both Norm and Gorp ‘cores’ has been well documented, but the centre point of the Venn diagram between the two is undoubtedly an older, comfier and practical sense of style. After a quick scroll through the Gramparents feed, you’ll see this demonstrated post after post – but there’s an intrinsic sense of sophistication that is the red thread between each fit.
“What they wear as well as how it’s being worn are a big part of what makes a good image on the page – but I dont set hard rules, I like to have fun with it,” Kivijärvi explains. There are a couple of things he takes into consideratoon, though: “First of all, are they old looking enough,” he says. “Secondly, does the environment they are in give the viewers a sense of imagination?”
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It’s a formula that seems to be working well, anyway. Eight years in, Gramparents has clocked up a number of collaborations in its own right. In 2021, they worked alongside Danish brand Another Aspect on a capsule collection, and more recently joined forces with revered Japanese label BEAMS. “Everything I’ve done has come from a natural connection,” he says. “I love working with my friends on creative projects, it makes the process and the outcome that much more meaningful.”
His next venture sees Gramparents team up with British fashion label Studio Nicholson, on a photography exhibition set to take place in London from June 2. “Instead of creating a collaborative apparel collection, we came up with this idea to feature the inspiration itself by displaying some of our favorite images from the page, gallery style,” Kivijärvi says, revealing that the collaboration came about after Studio Nicholson founder would regularly use candid shots taken from the Gramparents feed on collection moodboards.
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It’s been a wild ride so far, for Kivijärvi – and while today’s trend cycles will continue to move at hyperspeed, Gramparents is proof that elegant, insouciant style remains an ever-present aspiration that is enshrined by a lot of today’s buzziest brands.
“I think many of us out there do enjoy a little peace and quiet,” Kivijärvi concludes.“The faster you move the harder it is to notice something, and we are surrounded by so many beautiful things that are standing in plain sight. People starting to realise this and in turn it’s influencing their style as well as many other aspects in life.”
The Gramparents x Studio Nicholson “Senior Snaps” exhibition will be available to view from June 1 at the latter’s London offices in Hackney – find out more information about the pop-up here.