Me and my girl inspired by the new Vogue…
I’ve waited a long time to feel this change and could not love it more… when I was a little girl I dreamed of being a fashion designer and growing up I used to watch my mama swing her hips to the sound of Motown and disco with her big fro, platform shoes and gold sequin dresses’ pretty sure she used to wear this shade of eyeshadow too. She had a soul and style that I aspired to but I never really saw it replicated anywhere, especially not in glossy magazines or the mainstream media.
Still. I was determined to become a part of an industry that often failed to see women of colour like me and my mama and I worked hard to make my dream come true. Fashion has been my business for over 25 years because I carved a space out for myself and ignored the fact that magazines, brands and advertising campaigns didn’t speak to me.
As a young fashion student, I would excitedly buy every single copy of Elle and Vogue to devour the shiny fashion shoots, hungry for inspiration to feed my love of design. But there was always something missing…
REPRESENTATION. Women that looked like me! Women of different shapes and sizes. Women from different cultures. Women with unique stories to tell. Women from every walk of life. I could rarely ever identify with the images on the pages… so I gave up buying them a long time ago. It’s not just the glosses that are guilty, ALL magazines need to represent in every frickin issue because excuses just won’t cut it and quite frankly using one type of visual again and again and again is lazy and boring.
It’s not difficult to make your offering diverse and inclusive. The beauty, talent and creativity from people of colour is out there, in abundance. Use it.
Edward Enninful is the new editor of Vogue and Adwoa Aboah is his first cover girl. This image is so breathtakingly beautiful it makes my heart ache and fills me with butterflies and anticipation all at the same time, I’m excited for what’s to come and who will follow his lead. Hopefully much needed change like this is just the beginning of a new era. You only have to look at the reaction to Rhianna’s Fenti beauty collection for solid evidence that this is long overdue.
Yesterday I bought three copies of the new Vogue, one for my daughter, one for me and one to frame to capture this iconic moment forever. It fills me with joy and happiness to be able to have these conversations with my girl, she ADORES fashion and will no doubt make her mark in the industry too, already a super fan of teen vogue and the glossies, I’m hopeful that she will be able to relate to the images way more than I ever did. We certainly had a whole lot of fun recreating the beautiful make up together!
Inclusion is not a trend, a token gesture will just not do… a single afro in a campaign or one black face amongst a sea of white ones is not enough and it’s not acceptable anymore. I’m looking forward to seeing ALL kinds of women being given the opportunities to be represented more fairly and equally across every platform. Brands’ you better wise up and take notice because we are watching you!