VOGUE Italia recently launched two new sections to their website – VOGUE Black and VOGUE Curvy. Based on the overwhelming success of VOGUE Italia‘s Black Issue, VOGUE Italia has branched out to create these websites as offshoots of their homepage.
Is this a move in the right direction toward inclusion or is it enabling the notoriously narrow-minded fashion industry? Who is responsible for the lack of representation by curvy and Black women in mainstream magazines, anyway? Look beyond the editors, designer and stylists, and the people at the root of many editorial decisions are those focused MOST on the bottom-line: the advertisers. You can see their power by flipping through VOGUE Italia‘s “all Black issue” – NOT ONE of the ads in the magazine featured models of color. This glaring lack of black models in the ads clearly shows the reality of the opportunities for these women in the industry and illustrates the story better than anything else could.
In an article from The Telegraph, the black issue’s photographer, Steve Meisel, commented to this issue specifically, saying: “I thought, it’s ridiculous, this discrimination. It’s so crazy to live in such a narrow, narrow place. Age, weight, sexuality, race – every kind of prejudice. I have asked my advertising clients so many times, ‘Can we use a black girl?’ They say no. Advertisers say black models don’t sell.”
“The proof is in the sales numbers for these nuanced issues,” said Nakesha Holley, IMAGES USA’s Media Director. “Advertisers are missing significant branding and revenue opportunities, as well as opportunities to show diversity isn’t just a corporate slogan. If a brand wants to position themselves as supportive champions of a variety of women, then it should follow through by putting a variety of models in their ads.”
What do you think?