Product photos for clothing lines typically feature generic, attractive models, since the point of the images is to make the clothes accessible and desirable to consumers. Yuekou, an online clothing store in China, has found great success by using a different approach: its photos for teen girl outfits feature a 72-year-old man.
The model, a man named Liu Xianping, is actually the grandfather of one of the store’s 5 recent-college-grad founders. The granddaughter, Ms. Lu, tells China Newsweek that the whole idea started rather randomly:
He picked up one piece and tried to give some advice on how to mix and match. We thought it was fun so we started shooting.
The grandfather states that he is happy to help his granddaughter however he can:
Why unacceptable for someone like me to wear women’s clothes? Modelling for the store is helping my granddaughter and I have nothing to lose. We were very happy on the day of the shooting. I’m very old and all that I care about is to be happy.
It was a quirky photo idea that would drastically change the store’s fortunes: the photographs went viral overnight, and sales of the clothing have exploded almost fivefold.
Given the buzz these photographs have generated, perhaps we’re seeing the birth of a new niche in fashion photography.