Yesterday, as I walked in circles looking for the tiny Bayard Street that occupies the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory in New York City, prior at another nearby block, I had seen some books and magazines thrown out. I stopped at the pile because I immediately noticed Kate Moss‘ face on the cover of (British) Vogue. I instantly took it, nearly ignoring the many of issues of Russh next to it, a popular Australian fashion magazine.
Later that night on the train, I browsed through this September 2006 issue, recognizing models like Gemma Ward for Valentino, Shalom Harlow for YSL and the It girl of fashion nine years ago, Daria Werbowy in almost every other ad featured. I also observed not seeing one Black or brown model for what felt like 20 pages already. Not even a Black celebrity. It wouldn’t be for about 30 more pages until I saw a Black girl, and it would be her back turned to the camera in an Alberta Ferreti ad. Really, British Vogue? Damn.
In America, we’ve definitely let American Vogue know that it’s advisable to put some flavor on their covers. But British Vogue is even worst than its stateside edition in not making cultural and racial diversity de riguer. Earlier this year, they made headlines for giving Jourdan Dunn a February solo cover, their first Black model to have one in twelve years. Why twelve years British Vogue? For one thing, Naomi Campbell, a native Brit, is always a go. Don’t sleep on the lioness.
So as we continue to keep the American, and sometimes U.K., fashion industry on a very short lease on demanding diversified runways, covers and campaigns, the Black blogosphere was happy to share the news that for W magazine‘s August 2015 issue, that has the Emmy-nominated Taraji P. Henson on the cover, included was a photo spread with only Black models and all of them donning natural (inspired) hairstyles and textures. Not only did W hire Black women, but they were conscious in showcasing varying hues of brown.
Looking regal or rocking, yet ensconced in a 1960s mod theme, the visuals of this all-Black model cast are top-notch fashion photography. Two of the models in the shoot even have blonde and orange-red tresses, because Black girls wanna have fun too.
It may feel odd to be praising a mainstream, mainly White-led magazine for highlighting Black beauty as if they are doing us a favor, but that’s not why it’s important, or any Black site chose, to highlight these photos. Not only do Black audiences need to see them, but so do W‘s White readers. (W is actually one of the more lenient fashion mags in America, but nothing beats V magazine’s panache for being the United Nations of American fashion pictorial. And in the U.K., it is for sure i-D). Black is not only beautiful when it’s light-skinned or hair that is of a looser curl, or exoticized when for once a darker skinned woman is chosen to lead the movement, Black is beautiful when it is embraced for its richness of diversity and styles. That is what is displayed in W‘s spread and maybe for being so unexpected why it is nice to see. The pictures really are fabulous (a total fashion buzzword).
The photos also coincide with Teen Vogue‘s decision to initiate their August 2015 New Faces of Fashion issue with three young models of color (Aya, Lineisy, and Imaan) and as New York Times‘ T magazine ushered in, with a dark skin model on the cover, its Beauty Issue.
This one right below is especially stunning.
The August 2015 is currently available now. And the gorgeous models in these memorable photos are as followed: Ajak Deng, Amilna Estevao, Anais Mali, Aya Jones, Binx Walton and Tami Williams. Emma Summerton was the shoot’s photographer and Edward Enniful, the stylist, is also W‘s fashion and style director.
Dear fashion, we look forward to seeing more of these ladies, from W to Teen Vogue, slaying all these sartorial, into the fall and beyond.