Category Archives: Afrobella

Vogue Italia Responds to Criticism

Only days since the launch of the new Vogue Italia, the internet has been abuzz with criticism about the separate and allegedly “segregationist” channels: Vogue Black, Vogue Curvy and Vogue Talents.

A commenter on our post about it described the expansion as “bittersweet,” explaining that she’s thrilled for the attention on black and curvy Fashion, but insulted that it had to live separately from the main website.

Well, Vogue Black, as well as Vogue Black Contributor Afrobella (who Ferocia interviewed about her fab new gig!), took to the web to address the criticism, particularly the Cut Blog post condemning the site. Check out excerpts from their responses below:

From Vogue Italia:

Rodarte‘s success story, as seen in Vogue Talents, celebrates the creativity of the Mulleavy sisters and aims to set an example of how, with true talent, one can succeed in a short time. Vogue Talents is a channel dedicated to young designers: we couldn’t have found bigger encouragement. Or must we keep thinking that young people should not be given space?



Vogue CurvyTyra Banks in her first post for Vogue.it wrote that “beauty comes in many shapes, and especially in many sizes.” Unfortunately, however, there was no magazine – or site- that covered “other sizes” before.

Finally, two years on from the publication of A Black Issue, surrounded by Eastern European models, we ask ourselves: how long will it take before we see more black beauties on the runway? As summarized by Afrobella in her blog, they deserve their own spotlight.

From Afrobella:

Why does Vogue Italia feel the need to separate into different channels? My answer is, because throughout the history of fashion, black and curvy has been overlooked. We deserve our own spotlight. Of course, ideally black beauty and full figured beauty would be part of the mainstream – BUT IT’S NOT. Someone please share a link from The Cut about plus size fashion bloggers or black beauty bloggers. Please. I’d love to read it. Because I’ve been reading them for a minute and I’ve never seen one. And who’s to say that material from Vogue Black or Vogue Curvy won’t make it into Vogue Italia? For me as a reader, I think it’s refreshing to find a channel that exclusively caters to what I’m looking for — beauty and fashion inspiration that relates to my reality.

“We deserve our own spotlight.” I just like the sound of that!

What do you think? Does that explain away the separation of “Vogue Black,” “Vogue Talents” and “Vogue Curvy?”

I get it. I think a spotlight on black culture, young designers and full-figured women in Fashion is deserved and way overdue. And Vogue Black, Curvy and Talents offers just that.

At the same time, full-figured and African-American designers, models, beauty needs, etc. should be incorporated into mainstream publications and sites regularly, as well.

Why? True diversity is showing the work of a black designer and white designer side-by-side in an editorial spread. Featuring a plus-size model and thin model in every issue. So eventually that model or designer surpasses racial/size boundaries and becomes accepted and praised by everyone for their talent alone. And then, everyone can start to see the beauty in different cultures and sizes.

Let’s move toward including black and curvy models, bloggers and designers regularly in Vogue Italia…and Vogue…and V Magazine…and Elle Magazine…and every fashion mainstream publication.

That’s not to say I’m not happy about Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy. I’m glad that the channels exist and agree that the spotlight is truly deserved.

But I would hate for Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy to become sites only visited and produced by women of color…or women with curves. 

And I would love for women of all backgrounds to be exposed to the beauty, richness and enormous talent that exists in black and curvy Fashion…on the main channel AND on the “spotlight” channels…and in every issue of mainstream magazines.

What are your thoughts? Discuss.

Also, I feel I should repeat this, that is not to say I am not thrilled about Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy. I am beyond happy that Vogue Italia—a publication with connections, resources and talent—is paying attention to black and curvy women. In fact, my hero, who I had the pleasure of interviewing at The Magazine, Bethann Hardison has been named Editor-at-Large of Vogue Black. That makes me want to do back flips down my Brooklyn street with my sprained ankle.

But I do believe this discussion, about incorporating black and curvy fashion into the mainstream, needs to be had. 

Okay. I’m done.

Kisses,

Coutura

Vogue Italia Launches Vogue Curvy and Vogue Black

Curvy women and black culture are officially en vogue.

Vogue Italia has relaunched their website to include channels for Vogue Curvy (for full-figured women), Vogue Black (for black women) and Vogue Talents (for up-and-coming talents).

The site, which is available in English, boasts video interviews, photo galleries, articles and images—all the features fashion lovers spend hours dissecting on the web.

Vogue Curvy currently features an interview with plus-size model of the moment, Crystal Renn, while Vogue Black offers an exclusive talk with model/mogul Tyra Banks. Vogue Black also includes a profile on Grace Jones and an article “Know Your Fro” by amazing beauty blogger and friend of The Glamazons, Afrobella. Vogue Talents presents an interview with the Rodarte sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, and footage from their Fall 2010 Fashion Show.

The content is pretty exceptional. The concept, on the other hand, has caused quite the controversy.

In general, everyone agrees that it’s great that Vogue Italia recognizes that curvy women and black culture are worth celebrating. But some argue that presenting them on separate channels is still divisive. It’s like saying ‘You deserve attention, just not on our main channel. Here’s a section just for you.’

Similar complaints were made during the launch of the Vogue Italia All-Black issue and V Magazine’s Size Issue. To some, it perpetuated separatism. Instead of incorporating women of color and women with curves into these magazines on a regular basis, groups are given an issue where it’s all about them…one month out of the year. They’re celebrated, yes, but still marginalized.

On the other hand, people are arguing that ESSENCE Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Latina Magazine, Sister 2 Sister Magazine, etc. are just as separatist, focusing solely on a particular ethnic group. Sure magazines like Ebony were created as the answer to exclusion from the mainstream, but now those magazines have set the tone for what “inclusion” means. It seems Vogue Italia is just following suit using that same, proven formula.

Which leads me to my next question…can a wide range of cultures, sizes and ethnicities be represented (regularly) in one book? Is it even possible?

Judging from some unfortunate comments about the Vanity Fair controversy, if a magazine is not overtly associated with a race, people believe it should be assumed that it’s a “white magazine.” Which presents the need for a “black magazine.” Perhaps, that’s the thinking behind Vogue Italia’s separate channels.

When will the pages of a magazine, or the screen of a website, be big enough to fit all of us? Do we even want it to? Discuss.

Kisses,

Coutura