OPINION: British Vogue’s First ‘Diverse’ Issue Has Arrived — But There’s A Problem

British Vogue
Vogue's December 2017 issue is Enninful's first (Vogue)

When Edward Enniful was announced as Alexandra Shulman’s successor back in April, the fashion world all but exploded. Not only would he be the first ever male editor of British Vogue, but the first non-white head honcho too.

He quickly got to work diversifying the magazine’s whitewashed work force, appointing Naomi Campbell, Steve McQueen and Adwoa Aboah new contributing editors — the latter of which is his first issue’s cover star.

In a retro-style shot, London-born Adwoa is captured in a bold headscarf, glittering earrings and bright blue metallic eyeshadow. Red lips finish the look, with the surrounding print echoing the seventies vibe.

But is it just us, or does she look extremely light and freckle-less in her cover shot? Compared to many other editorial snaps of the modern-day supermodel, her Vogue cover feels almost washed out.

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The fashion and beauty industries have long been accused of glorifying white European standards of beauty — promoting light, clear skin and western features over anything else — reinforcing the idea that darker or uneven skin tones are not ‘beautiful’.

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This has long been reflected in the shameful lack of choice for non-white people when it comes to makeup, even prompting Rihanna to start her own beauty line to address the issue. So to see a woman of colour altered to look more ‘white’ on the cover of the industry’s leading glossy — one that showed hope of embracing non-traditional standards of beauty — is nothing but a real shame.

Despite Edward Enninful pushing British Vogue into a new era (actually entitled #NewVogue), there may still be some way to go before its pages represent actual real-life diversity — be it body type, ethnicity or gender.

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