Vogue Wants To Get Into The Diversity Thing Now That Diversity Is Cool

Vogue is finally getting around to acknowledging the fact that diversity is something they should think about and is addressing this head-on in their January issue. Congratulations, Vogue and welcome to the dregs of 2015. Here’s what Anna Wintour had to say about it, in her editor’s letter:

“All of the many progressive societal changes that we have experienced recently are pointing us to a place of far greater inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity…So instead of our typical January portfolio defining the new season’s direction, we decided to do something completely different this year, something that reflects not only the spring 2016 runways but the shifting times we live in.”

To prove that this is more than just a word salad of buzzwords, Wintour featured Swedish actress Alicia Vikander on the cover and also includes a spread  called “Be Yourself” which features a wide range of actresses, artists, writers, dancers and athletes of all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds. Featuring the likes of Alabama Shakes’ lead singer Brittany Howard and transgender model-actress Hari Nef, who is killing it on Transparent,  the spread should be applauded for effort, I guess?

Mark Holgate, fashion news director at Vogue, told Mashable that “Vogue fashion is not divorced to the realities of life” which feels decidedly incorrect and is also one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a very long time. For your reference, this year there were a grand total of 3 women of color on the cover this year — Beyoncé, Lupita Nyong’o and Serena Williams. According to Fashionista’s analysis of fashion mags and diversity in this momentous year, that’s actually one less than last year.

Other magazines, in case you were wondering, are faring pretty much the same. Allure featured 3 women of color both this year and last. Elle did well in 2014 with 5 women of color, but less well this time around, with only 3. Cosmopolitan should be embarrassed, but not as embarrassed as last year; in 2015, only Nicki Minaj and Demi Lovato made the cut. In 2014, Chrissy Teigen was the only speck in a sea of white.

“Social media…kind of gets rid of this idea that fashion can be worn by one body type and beauty. All sorts of beauty and body types and age groups can. It’s great,” Holgate said. You’re right. It’s fantastic. Should we replace Vogue  with carefully curated Instagram feeds that show that fashion doesn’t apply to rail-thin Slovenian women with huge eyes and a lot of mussed hair? Maybe!

Holgate seems to have a very different understanding of Vogue as a magazine and a cultural artifact, because he says that the magazine has historically been accepting of “intriguing and transformative” concepts of diversity. This is decidedly untrue, but that’s fine, tell me more, Mark.

“We have another 1 issues, and I think this is progress.”

Our definitions of progress seem to be different, but that’s why they pay you the big bucks. Keep your eye on this “diversity” trend in 2016!!