Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vogue practices apartheid

I like to buy a fashion mag each September to for ideas. However, the September 2008 Vogue was a surreal experience. After the first 100 lily-white pages, I started leafing through the magazine, desperately seeking any non-white faces. Aside from Halle Berry (actress) and Kimora Lee Simmons (designer) I didn't see any black women in the entire issue. There were no non-white models in any of the editorial content.

I didn't look through the issue very carefully. I was too sickened. However, Jezebel went through the Fall mags above and made a full tally.

• Total Asian models: 7 (2 celebrity/non-models)
• Total Black models: 9 (1 celebrity/non-model)
• Total White models: 236 (14 celebrity non-models)
• Total ambiguous race/mixed race models: 9 (3 celebrity/non-models)


Fashion Spreads:
• Total Asian models: 0
• Total Black models: 0
• Total White models: 9 (1 celebrity/non-model)
• Total ambiguous race/mixed race models: 0


Booth Moore of the LAT took Jil Sanders' Raf Simmons to task for using all white models in a show that was supposedly inspired by Africa. She called it an Aryan army.

It's too bad. I liked some of the clothes very much, especially the more subtle of the fringed pieces like the one below. (Fringe is one of Iris' spelling/vocabulary words this week and we had sew much fun in the sewing room with my stash of fringe.)

Take a look at this scary model from the Jil Sander show. Somebody feed her.


  1. Someone feed all of them! They all look like they could use a solid meal.

    What would be interesting, only I am too lazy/busy to look it up, is to compare the numbers Jezebel came up with as percentages against the overall demographics of US society.

  2. The demographics of society do not matter. What matters is the proportion of each demographic that is the size of the designers' ideal clothes hanger. I suspect that fraction is jsut naturally smaller for some races than others.

  3. That's a chicken and the egg problem. Who decides the size of the clothes hanger?

    Also, following your rationale, the clothes hangers should mostly come from NW China where the girls are tall and skinny? Or from Sudan?

    Seriously, former model and current agent Bethann Hardison says she is sending gorgeous tall and skinny girls out for look-sees. They are not getting jobs. The white girls are. She says it is worse than in the 70s.

  4. Fall 2008 (from the little I've seen online) seems quite minimalist in color, design, hair and makeup. Perhaps anything other than pale blandness was considered too distracting from such clothing?

    I'd be curious to see how the demographic numbers change with the character of each fashion season.

  5. The designers do have artistic license and, if an all white cast is part of their vision, then so be it. However, they are also in business, often for a publicly held company.

    When they make ridiculous clothes only for a practically nonexistent segment of the population (extremely tall, skinny, pale, young and rich), then they deserve to fail. I just don't feel like bailing them out, too.

    The recent bailout of the American car companies (and the one for the finance industry on the way) already make me sick.


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