Vogue Is Aiming To Champion Diversity In 2020

Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage.

On Thursday, Condé Nast announced “Vogue Values,” a pretty major ideological rebrand for its most famous title. The statement, which all of Vogue’s editors-in-chief have signed off on, including Anna Wintour, British Vogue’s Edward Enninful, Vogue Paris’ Emmanuelle Alt, Vogue Italy’s Emanuele Farneti, and Vogue China’s Angelica Cheung, will act as a guide for editorial teams globally. 

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The full statement posted to Condé Nast’s website reads:

“For over a century, Vogue has empowered and embraced creativity and craftsmanship; celebrated fashion, and shined a light on the critical issues of the time. Vogue stands for thought-provoking imagery and intelligent storytelling. We devote ourselves to supporting creators in all shapes and forms. Vogue looks to the future with optimism, remains global in its vision, and stands committed to practices that celebrate cultures and preserve our planet for future generations. We speak with a unified voice across 26 editions standing for the values of diversity, responsibility, and respect for individuals, communities and for our natural environment.”

It’s about time Vogue took a real stance on issues that matter (in order to remain relevant, at the very least). It’s also worth noting that while Vogue's US edition has often missed the mark (like that Vogue magazine story which featured Gigi Hadid and her-then boyfriend Zayn Malik to “highlight the impact the gender-fluid, non-binary communities have had on fashion and culture,” or that the September 2018 issue was the first time a Black photographer has shot the cover in the magazine's 126-year history), its international counterparts seem to be getting it right when it comes to diversity and inclusion (save for controversially placed Kardashian cover here or there). And British Vogue has arguably seen the most success under Enninful.

Since taking over the 103-year magazine two years ago, Enninful has proven to be an authentic, dedicated champion of diversity, having featured Oprah Winfrey and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, as well as models Adwoa Aboah, Adut Akech, and Selena Forrest on covers. He solidified his mission when he cast Rihanna as his first September cover star. Like Beyoncé’s September 2018 cover shoot for US Vogue, Rihanna’s is also historic, as it’s the first time a Black woman has covered Britsh Vogue’s September issue.

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And all of Enniful’s hard work is paying off: last year, a study by U.K.’s Audit Bureau of Circulations discovered that while circulation is down 6% among British fashion and lifestyle publications overall, British Vogue has actually seen its numbers rise slightly. In 2018, there was 1.1 percent increase in its combined digital and print circulation, bringing the readership to 192, 212, which is relatively small but still has had a major ripple effect: It appears that Enniful's work is setting the tone for his fellow EICs. “British Vogue’s success is a testament to the power of a brilliant editor, the creative energy of the magazine and the underlying resilience of print publishing in the luxury sector,” said Albert Read, managing director of Condé Nast Britain told WWD. 

If Enninful inspired the global diversity initiative, then it is a new day at Vogue, indeed.

We’ve reached out to Vogue and will update this story if/when we hear back. 

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