LMK Why The #VogueChallenge Looks Better Than Vogue
Not Even Anna Wintour Can Tell These Dupes Apart
(@culvin / Instagram)
Have you noticed a spike in Vogue covers on your timeline?
The gag is, most of them aren’t real Vogue covers — but they should be. You’re looking at products of the #VogueChallenge, a social media challenge created by aspiring model Salma Noor to challenge the Devil In Prada Herself — Ms. Anna Wintour.
Noor told Today that she started the challenge after noticing the “lack of representation of Black people that looked like me on the front cover of magazines.” And honestly, is she wrong?
The Pudding analyzed Vogue covers from the past 19 years and found that there is a significant disparity between models with lighter skin and models with darker skin.
Of the five darkest skin tones featured on Vogue covers, Lupita Nyong’o was three of them. For reference, all five of the fairest models were different women. Looks a lot like tokenism to me.
While Vogue isn’t the only publication guilty of this, it’s undeniable that they have had an inclusivity problem, both on and off the cover. Former employees of Vogue have taken this opportunity to expose the rampant toxicity of their workplace, citing instances of unequal pay, microaggressions, and completely unfiltered racism — including André Leon Talley, a Black former editor-at-large at Vogue.
In the 35 years that Wintour has been editor-in-chief of Vogue, she said she couldn’t find “enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators.”
However, she could find enough ways to treat Talley like a measly personal assistant.
In his new memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, Talley threw buckets of shade at his ex-friend. He wrote that Wintour would “decimate” him with the silent treatment, treating him “like a good friend and colleague” one day and like “an unknown parking valet” the next.
Talley also wrote that several of his ideas on Black-centered photographs and projects being dismissed by other editors at Vogue, and described Wintour as incapable of “simple human kindness”.
Sounds like Wintour chose not to make space for Black representation. So, Black creatives created spaces for themselves and are proving that they could wipe the floor with Anna Wintour any day.
Artists all over the globe are proving themselves magazine worthy by editing the Vogue logo on their photos to resemble the actual cover. With just a little bit of lighting and a lot of imagination, both pros and amateurs alike are absolutely FLOORING us.
Are You Ready For a Challenge?
Get ready for your jaw to drop because these makeshift models are not playing around.
Jamaican fashion stylist and gifted photographer Neko Kelly (a.k.a. Bootleg Rocstar) took up the challenge and absolutely crushed it! With both masculine and feminine models, Kelly didn’t hesitate to show off his brilliant textile expertise, using unlikely combinations to show us the versatility of various materials.
(Not to mention the shade range doesn’t look like a sad drugstore foundation section. CVS, I’m looking at you.)
This is Farah Khaleck, an advocate for body positivity and a kickass woman in STEM. She’s dedicated her life to educating the world about scleroderma, a rare skin disease she has that makes one’s skin and connective tissue harden.
She embraced her skin for her rendition of the Vogue Challenge, clad in dazzling colors, and beamed one hell of a smile. Just saying, Farah Khaleck’s smile could give the sun a run for its money.
If you thought the #VogueChallenge was limited to photography, you’d be wrong. This art director and designer put his graphic design skills to the test and he sure did deliver!
Art director Sad Seraph showed off his unique art style with dramatic bold colors. The dark skin representation in his artwork felt celebratory. Really puts the “present” in representation, huh?
In a letter apologizing to Black staff, Wintour vowed to do better to improve conditions at Vogue and better amplify Black creators. While no specific actions were described in the letter, the editor-in-chief of 35 years taking responsibility for Vogue’s mistakes is a gamechanger.
Fashion powerhouses are being forced to rethink their representation practices and become more aware of the damage their poor decisions create. The #VogueChallenge was just the first domino of many to fall over in the strive to create a better, more inclusive fashion world.
Christelle Pierre is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. When not writing, one can find Christelle holding a YA novel in one hand and an iced coffee in the other. She can be reached on Instagram @x.hristelle