As I praise Vogue Italia’s launch of the Vogue Black & Vogue Curvy websites as a step in the right direction, I also SMH that the global fashion industry still just doesn’t get it. We are not looking for Jim Crowe Days of “Separate but Equal”, but rather a time in our global society that is truly equally inclusive. We don’t need special or seperate issues dedicated to Black or full figured women, we need the heralded mainstream Vogue being inclusive of our global society of fashionistas at large. Black people showed Vogue that they could sell magazines when the special Black issue of Vogue Italia became the best selling issue in their history, to a point where it kept selling out & had to be re-issued about 2-3 different times to meet the demand.
“Instead of the issue not selling, it became the highest selling issues of Italian Vogue ever, and had run out of print twice, which marked the first time in Condé Nast history that the magazine reprinted an issue to satisfy demand. The reprinted copies had the tag lines: “Most Wanted Issue Ever” and “First Reprint” banded across the front.
However, even though the advertising pages went up 30 percent. There was a “glaring lack of black models” in them. The photographer for the issue Steven Meisel, said: “I’ve asked my advertising clients so many times, ‘Can we use a black girl?’ They say no. Advertisers say black models don’t sell.” With the immense success of this issue, the question isn’t is America ready for a black model, it is now are magazines and advertisers ready for one?” read more
At the end of the day the issue is economics not just ackowledgemnt. Having seperate but equal schools during the Jim Crowe era, which we still have today, resulted in limited funding of the minority in favor of the majority; thereby setting up an unequal disadvantage in reaching the same heights & goals as the majority. In the world of publication- success & longevity is in advertising dollars, so having separate issues/publications/websites in a limited economy where everyone wants the biggest bang & most reach for their buck, ultimately results in choosing to advertise in the mainstream Vogue with a larger circulation & more clout in the fashion world before choosing a specialized version of the publication with a limited & specific reach in the long run. This gives the fashion industry validation in not utilizing Black, Latinos, full figured & other minorities in their advertising because they can not base their Ad. campaigns on just special issues/publications/websites. When it does not become so unusual to see a full figured or Black model juxtaposed with their white skinny counterparts, then they will truly have no excuse because they have the same reach & circulation in the same heralded mainstream magazines; this is when we will be truly able to proclaim that we have done something in the forward movement for change & to be able to cheer about real forward thinking as a global society, not just repeating failed solutions of the past & making it new era fashionable!
Glamour & V magazines had full figured feature & issue respectively that did well on newsstands & Vogue Italia had the all Black issue that went above & beyond their financial expectations, so ofcourse they would want to capitalize further on what to them is some sort of new phenomenon that contrary to Karl Lagerfeld’s statements ,the mass public of their readers do want to see round women along with Black women & they have proven themselves to actually bring in a new crop of readers who further the publication’s net worth.
At the end of the day we are all working toward our economic freedom in our chosen professions & passions, so just like the wall street investment banker who received his huge bonus/commission by bringing in millions/billions & proving he is an asset to the growth of the company, plus size & Black models have proven that they can sell magazines sometimes even better than their skinny white counterparts, so give them their just due economic freedom by not rewarding them thru separate projects, but by truly recognizing their equality with inclusion in the mainstream mansion!