The recent debut of the all-black edition of Italian Vogue has stirred conversation about race in fashion. Sometimes (rather confusingly) called the "diversity issue," it has been in such high demand that it’s been hard to find in NYC. The JC Report calls its scarcity "an illustration of the significance of an all-black issue of Vogue within the fashion-aware community, particularly in New York and among blacks."
Photographed entirely by Steven Meisel, the inspiration, according to editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, was equally caused "by seeing black girls on the streets of New York as by Barack Obama’s stunning rise and visibility." It seems this issue of Italian Vogue has quite an American inspiration. Models featured include Sessilee Lopez, Iman, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Chanel Iman, Yasmine
Warsame, Toccara Jones, Liya Kebede, Jourdan Dunn and Alek Wek.
More prominent than the fashion-folk’s and New York’s interest in the magazine, the article points out African-Americans’ desire to see images they can relate to. "It’s a touching testament to blacks being starved of seeing their
images in the prominent pages of fashion magazines. For now, everyone
can quench their thirst by securing a copy of this breakthrough issue
as a memento to the beginning (we all hope) of a more representative
fashion industry." It seems to us that an all-black issue is a good place to start, but not a tradition to continue. Is this sort of once-a-year focus more harmful than helpful? In the vein of ‘a more representative fashion industry,’ black models and designers should be incorporated in the fashion world without the fuss of a to-do in the future. Overall inclusion seems a better and more barrier-busting path than taking one issue a year to focus on the poor representation of the fashion industry.
And maybe then, Naomi Campbell will feel she can fiiiiinally retire. Until that day, the new issue is a beautiful piece of print with a noble cause, and definitely worth taking a look at. We hope it succeeds in its goals!
– Hayley Wells
Source: JC Report, Yahoo! News