Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Alek Wek graces the cover of Elle South Africa’s 14th Anniversary Issue....

Whilst many of us are celebrating this ‘happy’ cover –others are asking, ‘do black covers sell?’ What I want to know, -really want to know is –‘do white woman buy ‘black covers?’. I feel that many publishers will be surprised to find -many of our white sisters are more than happy to buy glossies with black models/celebrities on. And thus -the debate ensues. -Are there fewer black covers because they don’t sell/the public don’t buy them or are there other issues involved?

I was asked this question by a third year fashion student [doing her dissertation] last week and I decided to get deep. I believe that whilst black women [and men] are seen as: less aspirational, with less disposable income, less fashionable, lacking class, ghetto, uglier etc –there will always be less ‘black covers’. And then she made an excellent point about our first lady Michelle Obama –and her many ‘covers’ –and she concluded, -most ‘black covers’ feature black role models -and [maybe] if we in England had more ‘black female role models’ then there will be more ‘black covers’ etc. –And I agree to a point, because whilst we are blessed in the UK with numerous black female role models [we have politicians, actors, entrepreneurs, models etc], -glossies like British Vogue, -will never put a role model like Dawn Butler, MP for Brent South [who is young and beautiful] on their cover because she is not seen as fashionable.

Fashion is first most –aspirational! It celebrates the uber stylish woman etc –and the ‘real’ truth is, –most mainstream fashion magazines don’t know [a lot of] stylish black women. Of cause there are other [political] issues but I’m optimistic and believe that things will change; –just look at American Vogue, –there’s always [at least] one fabulous black sister -in each issue. What do you think ladies, –do ‘black covers’ sell

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