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Vogue Italia Making History with ‘All Black’ Issue

“RACIAL prejudice in the fashion industry has long persisted because of tokenism and lookism. “We already have our black girl,” says a designer to a fashion-show casting agent, declining to see others. Or: “She doesn’t have the right look.” Laziness, paranoia and pedantry may also have something to do with the failure to hire black models for shows and magazine features in any meaningful number, but, hey, that’s just a guess. [NYT]

The long awaited Vogue Italia ‘All Black’ issue hits store tomorrow. Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, is about to break the model of the modeling industry. The July edition of Vogue Italia features 100 pages of black models including Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez and Jordun Dunn who all graced the fold out cover. The “A Black Issue” of Vogue Italia will surely get tongues wagging in the fashion industry as many black models get snubbed for shows, ad campaigns and editorials.

“I’m not trying to be provocative,” says Sozzani. “It’s just that, like everything else we do in fashion, the idea started from watching the shows. It’s got to the point where I can’t tell one model from another, except for Kebede, who started me thinking. In the early Nineties, we knew all the models’ names, recognised even the less famous ones. Liya was reminding me of Iman. And then I was in New York for Super Tuesday, seeing what was happening in America,” adds Sozzani referring to Barack Obama’s historic run for the White House.

This new issue of Vogue will be a stepping stone in helping minority models get gigs. The issue was shot by famed fashion photographer Steve Meisel. The all-black issue includes established names such as Alek Wek, Alva Chin, Gail O’Neil, Iman, Kiara Kabukuru, Karen Alexander, Tyra Banks, Veronica Webb, Yasmin Warsame, Pat Cleveland but also introduces the new breed of up-and-coming black models including Arlenis Sosa Pena, Chanel Iman and America’s Next Top Model contestant Toccara Jones. Hopefully we will see more black models on the fall runways.

Tyra Banks

Chanel Iman
Liya Kebede
Tyra Banks
Sessilee Lopez
Naomi Campbell