The latest issue appears to reference Peter Lindbergh’s “Supers” Vogue cover from 1990, which introduced the world to the idea of the supermodel. The shot is a challenge to the traditionally White fashion industry, which has been under fire to change and become more inclusive and diverse.
The nine models included in the beautiful issue are Adut Akech, Nyagua Ruea, Anok Yai, Majesty Amare, Amar Akway, Janet Jumbo, Maty Fall, Abény Nhial and Akon Changkou.
In recent years, especially since the wake of George Floyd’s murder, there has been transparency around discrimination at major fashion publications like Vogue and racial profiling in shops. Diversity on the catwalk has since increased. According to the Fashion Spot’s annual diversity report, 43% of the models who walked during the autumn/winter shows of 2021 were women of color. However, this is one of the first steps in seeing change in mainstream media publications.
“I know there’s so many little black girls who will look at this cover and feel something. I hope it makes you feel seen, heard and happy as it did me,” wrote Nyagua Ruea, one of the models who appears in the magazine.
British Vogue posted the stunning February cover on Instagram with the caption:
With a new generation of models in the spotlight, fashion is at last embracing what it is to be truly global. The nine models gracing the cover are representative of an ongoing seismic shift that became more pronounced on the SS22 runways; awash with dark-skinned models whose African heritage stretched from Senegal to Rwanda to South Sudan to Nigeria to Ethiopia. For an industry long criticized for its lack of diversity, as well as for perpetuating beauty standards seen through a Eurocentric lens, this change is momentous. @FunmiFetto talks to some of those redrawing the map in the February issue of #BritishVogue. See the full story in the new issue, on newsstands Tuesday 18 January, and click the link in bio to read in full.
British Vogue editor-In-Chief Edward Enninful, who is a proud British Ghanaian, shares on his personal Instagram that the cover was another step forward in altering those outdated attitudes.
“The rise of African representation in modelling is not only about symbolism, nor even simple beauty standards,” he wrote. “It’s about the elevation of a continent. It’s about economics, access, culture, perspective, difference and wonder.”
Check out photos from British Vogue’s iconic shoot below.