September was a huge shift for magazine’s fall issues — many of them strolled down a different and exciting path by having women of color be the face of their fall issue. Iconic women such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Tracee Ellis Ross, Zendaya and Lupita Nyong’o graced us with their presence on the covers of magazines which included: Vogue, Elle Canada, Marie Claire, Porter and British Vogue.
While the assumption was that this would only be a trend, it turns out that Black women are still on the cover of several magazines — most recently Lupita Nyong’o was on the cover of Vogue España, Duckie Thot is on the cover for Wonderland, Jourdan Dunn is on the cover of Elle Italia and Rea Milla covers Marie Claire Hungary.
The hope is that Black women are not seen as a trend but seen as worthy and beautiful as the white women who have been on the covers of these various magazines time and time again. While many champion for change, Bethann Hardison has worked very hard to repair the industry and place a spotlight on women of color. Hardison wrote an open letter in 2013, calling out the fashion industry for the lack of diversity that was present on the runways.
"Two, three, four [models of color] is nice. But not when there's 30 girls. I'm very pleased with any improvement, and I say that respectfully. I would definitely like to see, long term, consistency. Not just one or two seasons, not hit or miss. But just that there are consistently more models of color,” stated Hardison in her letter.
Hardison went on to share:
“Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches fashion design houses consistently use … one or no models of color. No matter the intention, the result is racism. … Whether it’s the decision of the designer, stylist or casting director, that decision to use basically all white models, reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society.”
While we relish in the covers that feature gorgeous Black queens, we hope that the industry continues to support the women that support it. There is much work to be done and though we have a long way to go, we’ll always take the time to celebrate our wins throughout this journey of representation.
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