126 years is a long time. 126 years ago, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. 126 years ago, the first patent for the motion picture was submitted. 126 years ago, the first issue of Vogue hit the stands of late 1800’s America. And look at how far we’ve come! Humankind has advanced far beyond reckoning to produce what are now distant relatives of these primary originations; Avengers: Infinity War, the iPhone X (it even sounds futuristic) and alas, the very first Vogue cover with a black photographer. Amazing! This year will also mark British Vogue’s first use of a black cover-model, Rihanna, for the September issue, after 102 years of publication.
Infinity War! Iphone X! Rihanna!
This week was a big one for the conglomerate: Vogue US announced that Beyoncé will be taking nearly, if not complete, control of the September cover – the face of the most important issue of the year. She has enlisted photographer Tyler Mitchell, who will be the very first black photographer to shoot the September cover. Across the pond, Edward Enninful, the first black editor-in-chief of British Vogue, has released the cover of Rihanna, aforementioned first September black cover-star.
September issue of @britishvogue, styled by @edward_enninful and shot by @nick_knight, on newsstands Friday August 3. Wearing a @prada dress and gloves @savagexfenty lace body. Hair by @yusefhairnyc, make-up by @isamayaffrench using @fentybeauty, floral artistry by @azumamakoto, nails by @jennynails and set design by @tomotattle
A progressive week for Vogue? Yes! Are they way late to the party? Oooh yes. With so many aspects of society progressing beyond prediction in the last century, let alone decade, the question now is to wonder how Vogue got left behind.
The magazine has dipped its toe in trouble throughout the past few years, with criticism of the publication saying it lacks connection with a majority of its base. Emilia Petrarca of The Cut stated this week that “in an age of personalized news feeds, [Vogue] lost its grip entirely. How can a singular entity speak to such decentralized interests?”
Additionally, a majority of Condé Nast and Vogue high-ups are very much Caucasian. This is grim news considering that only Enninful and Beyoncé have been the ones to make change. Evidently this proves that at Vogue, it takes a POC to make a real impact regarding representation and equality… That is, unless, anyone else decides to break status quo.
Fashion is the voice of the people. Only consumers can legitimately dictate the ins and outs of fashion. However, more and more responsibility has fallen onto designers, brands, and publications to nudge society in the right direction. They are, after all, the makers, advertisers, and producers of clothes. And as a human, it is impossible to avoid the concept of clothing. Instagram, which acts as a personalized fashion, culture, and politics magazine all in one, only heightens the importance of clothing with a message.
Because of these new expectations, no longer is fashion the voice of the wealthy 1%. Fashion now has a much greater audience that involves itself with the fashion world. Vogue has played a colossal part in making fashion a democracy.
This concept works fantastically, so long as Vogue’s employees reflect their base. Otherwise, we readers end up with something like, well, congress.
As the Vogue chatter, Anna Wintour rumors, and social media politics increase, one can only hope that there’s something bigger at play: an internal reorganization of employees, strategies, and priorities that better focus on the most important part of fashion: the people that consume it.