Sinners & Saynt: Black Attack

So, maybe I’m a bit behind, but there is an all “black” issue of Italian Vogue that is set to hit the stands pronto. Chanel Iman, Iman, Veronica Webb, and Jourdan Dunn are set to be the models of choice for the issue that will surely detarnish Vogue’s current position as least Afrocentric of all style tomes.

Sinners & Saynt: Black Attack fashion

The Vogue name has endured it’s fair share of scrutiny for recent exploitations, most recently Lebron James/King Kong cover, and I’m guessing this is some way to make good to the black community.  Of course, there are some questions I must ask about the intentions of this issue and whether or not an all black issue of Vogue is not just another way to sell more magazines by taking advantage of an entire color of people.

Is an all black Vogue really necessary?

While African American’s, Africans and just about every other race of person who isn’t “fair” skinned have not enjoyed much attention in the pages of high fashion glossies, it seems that a black issue of Italian Vogue is just a bandaid over the  blood wrenching decapitation that are the countless years of segregation, racism and the overall lack of diversity that has permeated the fashion world.  While changes need to be made to incorporate race into fashion, I feel that a Black Vogue will only be a minor fix, as if some high level executive decided to throw tan folk a bone by giving them the chance to be on every page of the famously pale tome.

Sinners & Saynt: Black Attack fashion

While it is appreciated, in the long spectrum of what will bring on positive change, this will only be a baby step on securing more spots for blacks in fashion magazines like Vogue.

Why not American Vogue?

Anna Wintour is quick to play superhero at the MET, but when it comes to being a champion for all people it seems like her super vision is set to white.  Anna’s main fault as an editor has been her inability to diversify. The cover of Vogue, which once was graced with models, is now filled with the images of top light skinned celebrities (though rare talents like Jennifer Hudson have once graced the cover).  The pages are filled with top models who vary from shades of eggshell to tan eggshell, but rarely do we see spreads devoted solely to black talent.

So why didn’t Anna take this opportunity to showcase black models in a special edition of American Vogue?  The reason is really unknown, but I’m sure the idea didn’t sit well with Wintour or controlling company Conde Nast.  I feel in a magazine marketplace like America, where African Americans have formed their own niche with magazines like Essence, Jet, and Vibe it has become increasingly difficult for companies like Conde Nast to infiltrate and attract an audience of African American readers.  No increase in readership, no desire to diversify.  In business terms it makes sense, but is it good enough reason to ignore an entire race, especially when considering the power magazines like Vogue have in the fashion world?

Do we need to instill Affirmative Action Initiatives in fashion? 

Answer after the jump…

Yes.  Like industries before it, fashion has been plagued by a sense of elitism amongst those of a fairer complexion. Since designers, stylist, photographers, and most importantly magazines like Vogue haven’t taken action to make change, I feel that it is the right of the government to enforce change and bring about positive change on the image of beauty in America.  Black is beautiful. African is beautiful. Spanish is beautiful. Asian is beautiful. But until it’s on the cover of Vogue, few will ever appreciate it in advertising, marketing, and commerce.  If the editors can’t make this happen I’m all for enforcing change.

How can we change things?

My suggestion is for everyone who cares about diversity in fashion to do one thing when the all black issue of Italian Vogue comes out, BUY IT!!! But, don’t buy any other issue of Vogue.  Put down the American, French, Chinese, and any other edition of the magazine. Don’t put a dime in Wintour’s bonus check and just purchase Italian Vogue for one month. Put a message out to the publishers who own these magazines that you do approve of more blacks appearing in fashion magazines. Demand change with your pocketbooks and after every single issue is sold, STOP BUYING VOGUE!!!  You can’t affect change unless you are willing to stick to your guns. The continued downturn in sales will force the magazines to recognize your desire for more diversity and will bring about change to fashion that will result in more love for those who weren’t born with pearly white skin.


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