If you haven’t heard already, the July issue of Italian Vogue was unprecedented. All the models in it were black. Amidst the buzz that followed, the much-hyped “Black Issue” became such a popular success that distribution was increased by 40-percent, an amazing feat. Some (including me) saw the concept — race as an “issue” — as a gimmick, an attempt to shush critics who frequently point out how little page-time the fashion industry gives to anything other than white faces. But, without a doubt, the issue got people talking about the issues. Now, let’s hope their attention isn’t squandered.
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I can’t remember the last time I picked up a lady mag and saw an African-American woman on the cover that wasn’t Halle Berry. The beauty and hair advice doled out in these magazines is targeted at white women unless otherwise noted and the major runway shows are pitifully powder white (Eastern-European is very in). It’s sucky, to say the least. Vogue Italia decided to do something about it, declaring their July issue “The Black Issue” — all of the featured models would be Black and all the featured content would address Black women. This is all fine and dandy on a purely surface level I suppose, except that by making this issue “special” they’ve defined all other, white-centric issues as the usual and the norm. Rather than having more women of color in every issue, targeting a single issue at one ethnic group doesn’t really do anything to increase diversity, now does it? That’s weak. [NY Times] Keep reading »