Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Independent: Black is finally in fashion at Vogue

...Mr Knight blames business people at the top of the industry. A common attitude among them, he says, is that black models are "not aspirational" or "don't sell in Asia"...

Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, told The Independent on Sunday: "We are using a lot of black models, like Iman, not only the models of today – a lot of different girls." Asked why she had decided to do this, she said: "Because nobody is using black girls. I see so many beautiful girls and they were complaining that they are not used enough."

Ms Sozzani admitted the issue could yet prove to be unpopular among some in Italy, where the xenophobic Northern League is part of the new coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi: "Maybe in our country it is not the best idea. But I don't care. I think it is not my problem if they don't like it – it's their problem."

Read the rest of the article here

First, I'm going to have to start a rock band called The Not Aspirational Black Girls.

Second, for as much as I am looking forward to gobbling up this issue as soon as it hits the stands a few things continue to vex me. Like:

--Why does this issue have to come out in July? July is the weakest month for newsstands magazine sales across the board. When I first heard the rumor about this issue and there was no date or details attached I wondered with optimism if it would actually be the big ass September issue but I guess that's just too big of a risk to take.

--Is it just me or is anyone else tired of these grand gestures? Be real, they always seem to let people down. Vivienne Westwood is probably still patting herself on the back over her grande dame gesture of using Ajuma for her Spring ads and you already know how I felt about that campaign.

I also wonder what the next step is for Franca Sozzani. After this issue will there be a return to business as usual at Italian Vogue? Are there any plans in place at the magazine to include more models of color across the board? Why this grand segregation gesture instead of say, just using more Black and other non-white models in editorials overall?

Whatever. I guess we'll all have to wait and see.


lapetitediva said...

After this issue will there be a return to business as usual at Italian Vogue?

The cynic in me says, "Yep!"

Okay, so they've devoted ONE issue to Black models--what about the other eleven(?) issues that come out during the year? I'm sorry, but one issue isn't going to make up for many years of exclusion and/or tokenism(I'm specifically thinking of that editorial in which the lone Black model was potrayed as a maid). Attitudes won't change overnight, I know, and maybe this issue will gradually open the gates to include more models of color in the pages of fashion magazines, period, not just Vogue, but I'm not totally optimistic. As long as White folks are running things, POC will always be relegated to the background, if they're allowed any visibility at all.

lapetitediva said...

Oh, I forgot to add:

Why does this issue have to come out in July?

Probably because they don't expect to sell many copies. I'm thinking the issue would have to literally sell out at every newsstand in order for TPTB to seriously consider using more Black models. Anything less and they'll fall back on the excuse that "Black models don't sell".

Ebony Intuition said...

I think we need to stop depending on white magazines to represent us their not us, we have the resources and tools and powerful black people in fashion to create a fashion magazine catered to black women and i think thats what we should try to create.. a black fashion magazine showcasing black models from all over the world..

ambika said...

I love the idea of the band--made me laugh.

And yes, agreed on all of the points you mentioned. July is a weak month. The whole thing is just ludicrous anyways and reminds me of why I don't subscribe to any fashion magazines.

Claire said...

Yay! Glad to see your back Brigitte. Your blog is amazing. I second "Ebony Intuition"...the answer might be us supporting each other vs. always looking for validation elsewhere. I cherish the day that that will happen!
The Fashion Bomb