PUT AN ASIAN WOMAN ON THE COVER OF AMERICAN VOGUE
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Dear Editor(s) of Vogue,
2018 marks your one hundredth and twenty- six years of fashion in American, congratulations. The only question I have for you is after one hundred and twenty-six years of fashion why have you not had a solo Asian cover star in American Vogue. You can argue that in 2016 you had an “Asian Cover Star,” in the March issue, but the fact is Lui Wen was tokenized. In this age of diversity why does is feel like Vogue is stuck in the past?
Fashion is what inspires people, defines an era, and even predicts the future, but fashion has turned from a way of self-expression into a conservative commercial environment where people are more focused on reproducing “trends” than creating something entirely new. It makes me disappointed that you claim inclusivity, but in truth, you still only represent the mainstream idea of fashion and modeling fall into the traps of your predecessors. For example the 2017 shoot with Karlie Kloss which was clearly stated that it was inspired by Richard Avedon pictures of the famous German model Veruschka von Lehndorff. I understand that it can be difficult to believe that this “Asian” inspired shoot was thought of as not offensive because it was inspired by photos taken by a famous photographer, but a lot of events have caused change since the 60’s, for example, the Civil Rights movement. Or for example out of the thirteen covers of Vogue Kendall Jenner has appeared on it was voted that one of her best covers was an Indian inspired shoot for Vogue India; this issue was criticized because it reinforced a negative connotation to girls of color, and it didn’t give the opportunity to a woman of her country to represent beauty.
Creating and curating a magazine is incredibly difficult and over the past year Vogue has changed, but it needs to change more. It needs to stop depicting Asian culture as a mirage of exotic romanticism that has been associated with Asia for centuries. American Vogue needs an Asian cover star, not in a group cover, or placed in an “Asian fantasy shoot,” but as herself finally in a place where she belongs. America needs an Asian cover star because many Asian people feel forgotten in this “New Age of Diversity,” and have forgotten to speak up hoping one day that they will open a magazine and finally feel included.
Katlyn Le Leal
Fashion Student, Parsons School of Design. BFA expected 2021.
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