Can we celebrate the September Issue of British Vogue?

PHOTOGRAPH: MARIO TESTINO (BRITISH VOGUE)

PHOTOGRAPH: MARIO TESTINO (BRITISH VOGUE)

Alexandra Shulman celebrated her 25 years at British Vogue signing off with the celebratory September Issue. The now Ex-editor-in-Chief, Shulman, made the decision to showcase the faces of models past, present and future on the cover of Vogue. The issue screamed tired and past its sell-by-date rather than celebrating a milestone 306th issue by the influential editor.

Titled, ‘Celebrate! Fashion’s past, present and future’. Nora Attal, Edie Campbell, Jean Campbell, Stella Tennant and Kate Moss were photographed by renowned house photographer and personal friend of Shulman, Mario Testino. Although with the dismayed expression of the so-called infamous models, celebration was far from what the issue exclaimed.

Lack of diversity has always been a problem within British Vogue. If diversity doesn’t come from the mouth of the fashion bible, or is not seen on the front cover, then can it truly be an accurate representation of those who read the magazine. 

It is hard to see how we can celebrate the issue of British Vogue with the lack of diversity seen on the front cover. How can we expect to see the past faces of modelling without the likes of Naomi Campbell? Dismissing Campbell for Moss doesn’t seem to be an accident. With the latter now having her 32nd cover. 

Reminiscing in her last editor letter titled ‘Wonder Years’, Shulman talks about changes within the industry, and the development and future of Vogue itself.

 

“Some 306 issues, 1,600 fashion shoots and, at a calculated guess, 38,970 pages later, the world and Vogue have both changed enormously.”

 

Although the backlash of said statement suggests that however much Vogue may have changed within the past 25 years; it does not seem to have changed progressively towards inclusion.

With Edward Enninful appointed editor of British Vogue, perhaps we will begin to see a change within the confined walls of the Condé Nast offices. Enninful promises a change. He is the first male editor of British Vogue, and also the first black editor of the magazine. Surely this begins to dispel the so called posh-girl publication.

Known for his progressive and opportunistic past issues within other magazines, he only exhumes the future of print fashion journalism. Enninful was appointed as fashion director of British fashion magazine i-D at the age of 18, a position he held for over two decades. In 1998 he spearheaded the 'Black Issue' for Italian Vogue, only featuring black models. The issue was so successful that Condé Nast had to print an extra 40,000 issues. 

His intention for the 'Black Issue' was: 

 

"to end the white-out that dominates the catwalks and magazines"

 

Enninful has been a lifeline for promoting diversity and inclusion. Italian Vogue was highly praised back in June 2011 for its' cover editorial, 'Belle Vere', which exclusively featured plus-sized models, the editorial was styled by Enninful himself. 

The fashion journalism sector can begin to create inclusivity by implementing the future faces of fashion, who aren’t white.

British Vogue, under the influence of Alexandra Shulman has shown little diversity in the past 25 years. With Nora being the only non-white model on the cover, it defines the movement from narrow minded views of fashion and the future of fashion.

There's enough you can see of Gigi Hadid and Alexa Chung on the cover of Vogue before you decide to give up on the fashion industry itself. 

Other than Imaan Hammam on a shared cover of British Vogue back in February, British Vogue has been a plethora of white willowy models with sullen faces. Only 2 years ago Jourdan Dunn graced the front of the February issue. Dunn was the first black model to have a solo cover in 12 years, since Naomi Campbell in August 2002; who equally missed out on representing the past models of British Vogue.

The future of fashion could have been represented by an abundance of models. Leomie Anderson, Marga Esquivel, Aamito Lagum, Pooja Mor, Fernanda Ly, Lineisy Montero and Nyadak Thot. And the past could have been seen through the faces of Devon Aoki, Bar Refaeli, Jourdan Dunn, Ajak Deng and Susie Bick. But it seems that British Vogue couldn't pull together an issue that could truly celebrate the future; but merely dwell on the past. 

The appointment of Enninful can only assume the position of a more progressive magazine. With the total circulation of over one million, the inclusion of those that support the magazine would create for a more impactful fashion bible.