Supermodel Naomi Campbell has never shied away from using her voice and her platform to champion the causes of Black people — be it speaking out against police brutality and racism within the fashion industry, or simply calling out an all-white masthead when she sees one. British Vogue’s contributing editor was just in Lagos, Nigeria for Arise Fashion Week, an event that showcases 45 designers from 14 different countries, where she vocalised her belief that there needs to be a bigger platform for the African diaspora on a global scale.
“There should be a Vogue Africa. We just had Vogue Arabia — it is the next progression. It has to be,” the British-born model said in a interview with Reuters, referring to the Vogue edition that was to meant “[set] a benchmark for the industry and [establish] itself as the only multimedia company dedicated to reaching” its affluent Middle East customer.
“Africa has never had the opportunity to be out there and their fabrics and their materials and their designs be accepted on the global platform. It shouldn't be that way,” Campbell continued. “People have come to realise it is not about the colour of your skin to define if you can do the job or not.”
To Campbell’s point, where American magazine stands remain glaringly white, its international counterparts seem to be getting it right when it comes to diversity and inclusion (save for a Kardashian cover here or there). In 2017, the Fashion Spot found that 32.5% of international publications featured people of colour on their covers, a 3.5% increase from 2016. It referred to 2017 as “fashion's most inclusive year yet.” Vogue Arabia’s 12 covers all featured non-white stars, while Vogue Taiwan featured 12 out of 13 women of colour on its covers. Vogue India was also above the 90% mark, with 19 of 21 people of colour.
Currently, Conde Nast publishes 27 international versions of its fashion bible, including editions in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Thailand, Romania, and Turkey. And should Campbell’s idea come to fruition, we’d love to see what Vogue Africa would add to the mix — and how it would help amplify the work that deserves to be seen.