Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vogue Italia: The Black Issue

Finally, someone had the courage to talk about the lack of ethnic models on the catwalk. Vogue Italia's Editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani attended the shows during fashion week in February and raised the question, "Why aren't there any black girls on the runway?" During an interview with ABC news she also stated "There are no black girls and all the blond girls look alike." Franca Sozzani took the next step to talk about the issue by dedicating the July issue of Vogue Italia to black models. She also called upon photographer Steven Miesel to capture the boldness and the beauty of African American women. With nearly 100 pages, you will see a wide range of new and old faces in the fashion industry like Iman, Liya Kebede, Alex Wek, Jourdan Dunn, Chanel Iman, Tyra Banks, Toccara Jones, Veronica Webb and Naomi Campbell to name a few. American Vogue was brought under fire for the recent LeBron James cover, which a lot of critics thought was racist. Also putting Jennifer Hudson on their cover last year for their big power issue raised some eye brows. American Vogue is not taking the beating lying down, they are responding to Vogue Italia's black issue by doing a six page spread focusing on racism in the fashion industry. It will feature Arlenis Sosa, Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn who are also featured in Italia Vogue's black issue.

This is not only about Black women but ALL ethnic women including Asian and Latina. Magazines like American Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, and W don't use ethnic women. Prada for the first time in 10 years used a black model during their runway show last Spring. Ebony Fashion Fair, the biggest African American traveling fashion event was the first to show designs by some of today's biggest designers, who do not cater to African Americans. African Americans helped popularized a lot of brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Timberland. If some of these magazines and designers take notice they will see most of their consumers are BLACK. The American culture sees the image of a beautiful women as blond and blue eyes. Until society changes the image of what an average women looks like, ethnic women will struggle for fame in the fashion industry and Hollywood. I also think it starts within ourselves to stop focusing on color and more on CHANGE. With several different covers available, I encourage everyone to pick up the July '08 issue of Vogue Italia because it is a very powerful issue that is worth the money. Share this with everyone!

It is not what you look like but who you are as a PERSON. - CS

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