On the first of every month, Teen Vogue releases the cover of their next issue.
Six days ago, they released the August 2015 cover. Gracing the gloss are models Imaan Hammam, Aya Jones and Lineisy Montero.
Three young women of color (Egyptian-Moroccan, French-Ivorian, and Dominican respectively) with an impressive cover story on them written by another woman of color, my aforementioned Teen Vogue fave, Elaine Welteroth.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal to the average consumer, but race, representation and cultural appropriation have always been issues in the fashion industry. You’ve seen it before: Caucasian models wearing hairstyles, clothing, and trends created in the communities of other cultures instead of models that truly belong to said culture. When was the last time you saw not one but three brown girls on the cover of a fashion magazine? In a September 2013 article written by Jezebel.com’s Madeleine Davies, the journalist quoted Naomi Campbell after Campbell, Iman, and Bethann Hardison teamed up to create the Diversity Coalition and write an open letter to the fashion industry pertaining to its race problem.
There were more black models working [in the ’70s] than there were in 2013,” Iman, on behalf of Diversity Coalition, told GMA‘s Juju Chang. “There is a time when silence is not acceptable at all and if the conversation cannot be had publicly in our industry then inherently there is something wrong with the industry.”
I, as a young black woman who wants to someday work as a fashion journalist, acknowledge just how hard it is as a WOC to work in the fashion industry, yet alone work as a model.
With racial tension unbearably high in America right now, I applaud Teen Vogue for this step in the fight for representation in the fashion industry. Little brown girls everywhere can see themselves in these three young models and realize that they could be on magazine covers, too.
I hope this progress and positivity spreads throughout other Condé Nast publications and fashion mags. I cannot wait to get my issue in the mail.
Read the cover story online here.