"Vogue Italia, the magazine known for taking a stand against anorexia and promoting the use of black models in fashion, made another statement this week, putting an Asian woman on its cover for the first time...Chinese model Fei Fei Sun covers the magazine’s January issue (out worldwide Monday), a celebration of the multicultural, border-free facets of fashion. Editor in chief Franca Sozzani, who works as a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations’Fashion 4 Development Project, chose Sun for the honor...“In the images, Fei Fei perfectly embodies a timeless idea of an extremely chic, beautiful woman,” Sozzani tells WWD. “In this world, beauty is king and it’s something that brings people together with no national and racial limits...” READ MORE
I guess with a new year brings new history to be made. I have dubbed 2013:ReClaiming year of our global citizenship/Global Fusion and it seems Vogue Italia is on course with the program. I wondered why my social media timelines weren't being flooded with my Asian friends celebrating this historical issue as African-Americans do every time one of us gets a so called "historical cover" of a mainstream magazine. Who can forget the insanity of Vogue Italia's July 2008 all Black issue that had African-Americans buying issues so rapidly that it was the first time in Conde Nast's history where they had to reprint an issue multiple times. Then there was Vogue's March 2009 Michelle Obama cover and the the Halle Berry September 2011 cover that had not had a Black face on the coveted issue since Naomi Campbell in 1989.
These issues brought debates, adoration and pretty much every African-American publication writing its own stories on them; yet for Fei Fei Sun's historical cover I do not see as much hoopla and celebration amongst my Asian friends, so I decided to ask why. I was told by my friend who happens to be Chinese and a fashionista that although she thinks this is great and she is ecstatic for Fei Fei Sun, generally her community has greater things to worry about and to make strides toward in tems of being accepted in the global fold. She said she is much more concerned about the deplorable treatment of Chinese people in Italy and other parts of the world who are not amongst the chosen beautiful people that Ms. Sozzani speaks of as badge/passport of border crossing and acceptance. Well all I could say to that is Wow! talk about having one's priorities straight and not being distracted by the light of a little Sun shine.
I absolutely love Fei Fei's cover, but I hardly buy into the notion that "beauty is king and it’s something that brings people together with no national and racial limit". The fact that in 2013 this is even a historical cover is proof that that idea is not true because haven't Chines women always been as beautiful as their White, Black or other counterparts or did they just come on this earth recently? It just perpetuates the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for far too many models of color the beholders at fashion publications and design houses look nothing like them and often don't see their beauty until it is made a global trend. Slowly, but surely we are making strides, but we still have a long way to go in our global citizenry and the full embarrass of our global fusions.