What makes relationships stand the test of time?
Ari Seth Cohen grew up in San Diego with his grandparents. His relationship with his maternal grandmother, Bluma, would ultimately define his life’s work and his positive perception of growing older. “She was my best friend,” Ari tells Growing Bolder. “She encouraged my creativity. When I was age 7 or 8, we sat together making scrapbooks of fashionable older ladies.”
Bluma went to Columbia University in New York City and repeatedly encouraged Ari to go there to experience the creative energy. After she passed away, he moved to the city to honor her wish. “I missed her terribly and needed to re-establish a connection with older adults,” he says.
It took a New York minute for Ari to be mesmerized by the fashionable older women walking the streets of Manhattan. With no camera and no previous photography experience, he borrowed a camera from a friend and became one of the first street photographers. “I wondered why all of the fashion role models were younger women and why I had never seen images like the ones that I was capturing daily. Once I had a few hundred photos, I realized their power to change peoples’ perspective on aging.”
The year was 2008, two years before Instagram was launched. Ari had discovered a passion and recognized an opportunity. So, he did what any creative 26-year-old would do. He started a blog. Advanced Style quickly gained followers as people all over the world began sharing his images and inspiration.
The rest is fashion history. Ari became one of the top influencers in the fashion world. His blog led to a best- selling book and an award-winning documentary, both under the Advanced Style brand. Two more books followed: Advanced Style: Older and Wiser and his most recent, Advanced Love.
As his Advanced Love media platform grew, Ari began taking photos of stylish women and men around the world. Most of his subjects had a significant other and Ari became fascinated by later in life relationships and what makes them work. Once again, his curiosity led him in a fascinating and rewarding direction. “I realized that I was collecting photos and wisdom. That was the genesis of Advanced Love. I wanted to learn what makes relationships last and with so much negativity and despair in the world, I wanted to contribute a hopeful message about love.”
Advanced Love profiles 40 different couples from around the world exploring themes of love and companionship through their firsthand experiences. While they are all older adults who enjoy and benefit from creative expression, they are as diverse as couples can be: heterosexual, same-sex, interracial. Some have been together for 5 or 6 decades and others fell in love in a nursing home. “My work is always about diversity and inclusion, sharing the wisdom of older people with younger generations, and most importantly, changing perceptions about aging,” he says.
Ari’s new pet project is an actual pet project. His new book will be about people and their beloved pets. He’s currently looking for pet owners over the age of 60 who have a deep connection with their pet. Dogs, cats, turtles, goats, birds, cows, it doesn’t matter. He wants to know that they add to your life. And yes, it helps if you have a little stylish flair. That’s a big part of the Advanced Style brand. You can connect with Ari on Instagram, Facebook, or his website advanced.style.com. His books are all available on Amazon.
So, what did Ari learn about lasting love?
→ “It’s never too late to find love or to find it again. I met many couples who had given up on having a true love connection before they met one another in their 70s, 80s or even 90s.”
→ “Like is as important as love. You have to be good friends”.
→ “You have to constantly work on communication.”
→ “A sense of humor is a must.”
→ “You have to have empathy and be willing to forgive.”
This article is featured in the August 2022 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.