We are all aware of what year were in, yes?
It’s been 50 years since Donyale Luna was the first black model to appear on the cover of Harper Bazaar, which years later she became the first black woman to grace the cover of Vogue. Although we’ve come a long way since then little has changed. It is 2017 and there is still a lack of women of colour on magazine covers.
The September issue of any magazine is a major deal because it sets the tone for the trends and upcoming colours that will be in style for the season. “It’s the end of the summertime and evokes a fresh start, star of a new fashion season after months of warm weather clothes ruling the scene” – Marc Jacobs
There are many different aspect that are important about the September issue such as the time of year, advertising and pop culture but the most important one is the cover.It’s the first thing the readers see, it’s an attention gabber. It can make or break the overall perception of the issue and the likelihood that consumers will buy it. Magazines usually strive to out do their previous September issue and land stars/models who are extremely popular and have a huge fan base.
The issue itself is planned six to eight month in advance to ensure everything is well executed and exceeds expectations. With that being said, you can understand why its kinda of a big deal for any model to grace the cover of a September issue.
There was a period from the 80’s-90’s that black women weren’t featured on covers because “We hit this moment where suddenly it was decided that black women were not doing well on covers.” – Charles Whitaker This became the conventional reasoning as to why no black models were featured on magazine’s cover during this era.
In 2002, we believed that the drought was over when Halle Berry had appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan, her cover had shown that black women could attract readers across racial and demographic lines. But boy were we wrong.. Even today there are more “first” to come for black covers. There have been multiple black women who have dominated the fashion industry such as Naomi Sims, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Iman to Jordan Dunn. It wasn’t until the 2015 February issue that Jordan Dunn was the first black model on the cover of Vogue UK in 12 years. Black women and women of colour have to work twice as hard in the industry in order to be considered for a solo cover.
In 2016, we saw a shift and covers had become more diverse but it wasn’t enough. Out of 679 magazine issues; 197 covers were non white model in comparison to 482 white models. Women of colour represented 29% of the covers, although it was an increase of 6.2% from last year’s numbers. Which in reality was a big difference from 2014, whereas women of colour were featured 17.4% of the time. For a world that is dominated by white people, women of colour are constantly fighting for a chance to get the recognition they deserve.