Representation of diversity –and especially women of color, is too often lacking in major fashion editorials. The faces, the hair, and the skin-tone that mimic and mirror that of millions of brown girls and boys often comes up missing on powerhouse covers, creating an issue regarding what we define as ‘universal’ beauty. Along with imagery, the inclusion of persons of color in essential roles ranging from editors to photographers is in need of change.
As these issues are more vocally being addressed, a swing in the right direction comes upon us this September as a few Black individuals make a profound wave in the realm of fashion and beauty for upcoming issues.
Vogue icon, Editor-in-Chief, and artistic director for Condé Nast, Anna Wintour gave free rein to artist Beyoncé to creatively and conceptually control her role as the September cover. Wintour, whom is notorious for playing an almost overbearing duty in electing clothes choices and the selection of photographer, shows good faith in relinquishing all dues to a woman as powerful and dominating as herself –a Black one. On top of that, Bey picked a 23-year-old Black photographer, Tyler Mitchell, to capture the editorial’s images. Remarkably, Mitchell is now the FIRST black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover in the magazine’s 126- year history of publication.
Beyoncé uses her voice to discuss the importance of her work, making time for self-care, and the need for representation in her issue.
“If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own,” Bey states.
Not to be outdone, Bajan superstar and Fenty Beauty owner, Rihanna, makes history as British Vogue’s first black woman to grace the September cover, under Editor-in-Chief, Edward Enninful. Praise must be given to Enninful, a true pioneer named as the first Black male editor of British Vogue, appointed last year. Together, the fearsome pair has delivered stunning photos and looks to grace the 400-paged issue –the largest of the year. Rihanna strikes poses in front of Nick Knight, whom shot her editorial, while wearing the likes of Prada, Alexander McQueen, and Noir Kei Ninomiya. The big fashion issue hit newsstands Friday, August 3rd.
Vogue is certainly making a name for itself, –upon already being a, if not, the most iconic fashion doctrine, with its’ good omen of inclusiveness. Dismally, it has taken many years to reach these newfound achievements, yet it is promising that many other barriers are soon to be broken. The opportunities given to people of color not only establishes credit to their abilities, but gives self-worth to the many readers who may now gain a notch of confidence in their own beauty and dreams. It is truly by seeing individuals with a likeliness to ourselves that gives our community a boost of morale to say, yes our determination is valid, yes our beauty is recognized, and yes we can make history.