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Edited by on February 7 2011 at 4:53 PM

Nearly three years after its iconic “Black Issue”, Vogue Italia is at it again with the stunning editorial “BlackAllure” featuring nearly every working model of color…working it: Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn, Sessilee Lopez, Joan SmallsAjak Deng, Arlenis Sosa Peña, Melodie Monrose, Kinee Diouf, Lais Ribeiro, Rose Cordero, Mia Aminata Niaria and Georgie Baddiel.

Vogue Italias Black Out

Italian Vogue‘s EIC, Franca Sozzani addressed the issue of discrimination in the fashion industry on her amazing blog last week, asking “Is skin color still an issue?”:

“We continue to give it [diversity] more space in the magazine and website. The truth is that real beauty doesn’t care for skin color or nationality.”

For Sozzani there is no issue of race, no issue of discrimination and she wonders why readers think it’s “such an issue to choose black models?”

Well, the answer is simple. For so long, beauty was defined by a specific type of girl; designers and magazines only chose skinny, non-distinct Eastern European girls which became the industry standard.

The trend is slowly shifting, but it’s difficult to change the perception of fashion being particularly racist when the industry itself is responsible for the proliferation of that perception.

So in reaction to this homogeneity, any time there is an editorial exclusively featuring black models the inevitable debate begins anew:  is this a matter of progress or exploitation?

I’d like to think it’s progress. It’s incredibly important and inspiring to see beauty represented in all forms and all colors, for society and for the fashion industry. Everyone needs to see themselves reflected in ads and editorials in order to feel beautiful and to feel that they too are respected consumers.

And furthermore, after looking at pale, emaciated human hangers for all those seasons, I think we could all use an injection of, dare I say, color.

Check out the rest of the editorial — a jazz-inspired romp through the Harlem Renaissance — shot by Emma Summerton and styled by Edward Enninful at Lookbooks!

Photos: Vogue.it / Link Love: Style House Files

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Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at fashionindie.com