The Dilemma With Vogue, Fashion And Ethnic Beauty

I’m guessing that Anna Wintour had missed Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video……

nicki minaj anaconda

Vogue made a very surprising statement in their last issue that Jennifer Lopez, Iggy Azalea and Kim Kardashian had made big booty’s popular… she’ll be saying that Miley Cyrus invented twerking…..

What I find so bizarre here, is the blatant disregard for their most popular cover girl who has shifted them millions of copies worldwide. Beyonce’s most recent British Vogue cover feature was in May 2013. Queen Bey (the only way to truly refer to her highness) has been famed for her juicy butt steak for over 15 years now. After being named as Forbe’s most powerful celebrity this year and also People Magazine’s most beautiful woman in 2013, how can Vogue possibly miss that Beyonce (at the very least) has been making big bums sexy for decades now?

beyonce vogue

Every single white boy (and girl for that matter) knows the lyrics to “Baby Got Back” dating back to 1992….way before Iggy Azalea’s surgical enhancement and whilst she was still in nappies.

So why is it that Vogue saw fit to deny that curves had been a central aspect of black beauty for years before white girls decided to ditch the celery sticks? Whilst I think that all of the aforementioned women are stunningly beautiful…..claiming that they are responsible for the current beauty trend is just downright ignorant and it sends a pretty sinister message to anyone who doesn’t fit the Aryan prototype.

With Jennifer Lopez aside (she’s Latina and that booty is all natural), the other examples are merely emulating black culture……rapping, twerking and dating black men. Whilst I think this brings diversity (which is beauty in itself) to the entertainment industry, I think the frustration being felt is the lack of acknowledgement for the fact they are being influenced by black culture. Vogue is painting the picture that THEY are the influencers here.

iggy                       2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

That leaves their feelings towards black culture questionable…..are we that insignificant that our culture just isn’t worth mentioning? Are we the ones copying Iggy and Miley? Does this tie in with the fact that there has PREVIOUSLY (I’ll mention LFW soon!) been a severe lack of ethnic faces within the fashion world?

Does The Fashion World Acknowledge Natural Hair?

Now I have to give the fashion world SOME credit here. Things are getting better, slowly but surely.

We are starting to see more diversity within the fashion world on both the commercial and editorial side. I have to make a special mention for Lupita Nyongo who was voted as The Most Beautiful Woman In The World by People Magazine this year and making the cover of Vogue in June?.

voguejuly2014A.JPG                    people mag lupita

However, my bugaboo here is….apart from Lupita, there is still a severe lack of natural hair on the runways, in the magazines and in advertisements.

Embracing darker skin tones but not tighter hair textures still suggests to me that there is an issue with ethnic beauty here. How on earth can you say that black is beautiful as long as the hair texture is European? From the pictures that I’ve seen of this years New York, London and Milan Fashion Week, weave and relaxers are still dominating the catwalks.

This greatly surprises me… can the fashion industry claim to be “artistic” when the standard of beauty is so monotone? Whilst skin, hair and eye colours may vary…..the general “look” is still the same…..straight (usually long) hair, thin bodies, visible ribs, flat chests, long legs and cheekbones that could grate cheese.

I previously mentioned in my article “5 Reasons Why Kinky Kicks Curly’s Ass Anyday” that kinky afro hair is an artists dream, the way it can be molded into any shape or style and it’s ability to defy gravity. This is such a beautiful and rare quality…..for an industry that prides itself on it’s “art”, why wouldn’t they take advantage of kinky hair and it’s unique styling abilities?

We are never going to see differences in the perception of natural kinky and curly hair until we see the fashion world and mainstream media embracing it fully.

Whilst there were SOME curls on the runway, as seen on my favourite model Jasmine Sanders at NYFW, (pictured below), they couldn’t have been much tighter than a 3A wavy curly pattern.

jasmine sanders nyfw

The Positive Changes

However, rather than harping on about how we have so far to go, maybe I should be focusing on the positives here instead.

At London Fashion Week this year, designer Ashish Gupta featured an all black cast of models for his showcase. Adorned with glitter and beautiful sequins, it was a monumental moment in the fashion industry and it not only displayed his talent as a designer, but also just how far black beauty had come in terms of recognition.

ashish 1             ashish 2

ashish 3

Perhaps for now, these steps are the triumphs the natural hair world should be celebrating. I suppose we have to celebrate the fact that we have a foot in the door now before we claim the right to take the weaves out.

Back to Vogue, and all other fashion and beauty magazines for that matter. I hope to one day see a time where the mainstream magazines start catering more for ethnic beauty. I would love to see more black, mixed race, asian and hispanic editors creating content for mainstream fashion and beauty media. No more segregation and “black only” magazines (which are just filled with adverts for relaxers and skin bleaching creams anyway). We shouldn’t have to be in a “niche” ethnic market……humans come in all different colours, shapes and sizes… why can’t we be represented as such in the world leading publications?

Let me know what you think in the comments! Thank you for stopping by!

Love ya!

curlyhairstyle 3.2

The Curly Cockney


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