The September Issue: A Reflection.


"Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like. That is why I wanted to work with this brilliant 23-year-old photographer, Tyler Mitchell.
When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly, that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer.
It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter." - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Opening Doors

I've always been passionate about diversity representation and so to witness something like this in the very industry I'm also passionate about is amazing. This September, the much-anticipated issue of Vogue dropped with Beyoncé as it's cover star, shot by an up-and-coming black photographer (Vogue's first), Tyler Mitchell. In this issue, Beyoncé highlighted the beauty in natural bodies, reflected on her life and journey, expressed her truest self in confidence, and opened up about paving the way for the next generation of talent.

"It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter." - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Aside from this September Issue, we witnessed something truly amazing across many of the big-name fashion magazines that have become infamous for their exclusivity and lack of diversity in the fashion sphere. As these magazines embraced and showcased black cover stars on magazine stands all over the world. We're seeing Rihanna for Vogue UK, Zendaya for Marie Claire Magazine, Lupita N'yongo for Porter, Tracee Ellis Ross for Elle US, Slick Woods for Elle UK...the list goes on...and I couldn't be happier.

The Evolution of Fashion

The Evolution of Fashion, more so on its standard of beauty and the transcendence of diversity representation within the fashion industry is an ongoing one. I believe that the Fashion World, like many other industries and aspects of life, is evolving for the better in one way or another.

Diversity representation is evident in the fashion industry today, as the industry now welcomes models of all different sizes, genders, races, cultural backgrounds and so forth. This shift in diversity representation is also showcased in one of the biggest and most influential fashion publications of the past and modern times, Vogue. In the past, skinny and white “modelesque” females were pushed as the set standard of beauty to be featured on fashion magazines and runways. There was hardly any diversity representation in fashion advertising of the past. However, a shift has been made in fashion where people of different races, sizes, genders, and backgrounds are being represented more in the fashion world.

In August of 1974, Beverly Johnson became the first African American model to appear on the cover of American Vogue. In March 1966, Donyale Luna became the first black model to grace the cover of British Vogue, Vogue Magazine, period. These were such groundbreaking covers that brought hope and opened so many doors for other African American females interested in fashion. In the recent September Issue of Vogue Magazine, Beyoncé graced the cover and brought along the first-ever black photographer to capture the moment for the magazine. Through this issue of Vogue, Beyoncé and Mitchell sought to capture and intertwine the culture, the Black experience, art, and fashion in beautiful storytelling.

"When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly, that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for  Vogue, this is the first ever  Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer. 
It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter." - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Beyonce and Tyler Mitchell were able to capture, open up, and redefine what exactly it means to encapsulate one's identity; to be black, to be socially aware, to be a creative, to be a woman, to be powerful, to have a voice, and most importantly, to be human. All this and more in this issue is undeniably inspiring.

"Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents. 
If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own. They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose. The beauty of social media is it’s completely democratic. Everyone has a say. Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective." - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Beyoncé used her platform to pave new roads for many and push for more opportunities for the next generation of talent. Young girls and boys looking at this and reading this will see themselves, hope, opportunity, and the beauty in embracing one's true self. As Beyoncé even said, she was one of those little girls that looked to the legends we know and love today, like Aretha Franklin, like Whitney Houston, like Josephine Baker, the list goes on. All those legends listed and more paved the way for many black artists and creatives. People of all ages are greatly inspired and/or affected by representation in society. That's why it's so important to open the doors (and keep them that way!) to diversity representation, not only, in fashion but across all industries and society.


Fashion Now: The Importance of Diversity Representation

Diversity representation is evidently growing within the fashion industry, as we now have people of all different sizes, races, genders and so forth welcomed into the industry. It honestly takes that one person, voice, message, and/or action to bring about change. 

Beyoncé is one of the many people to do just that for the fashion industry. Beyoncé brought along the 23-year-old photographer, Tyler Mitchell to shoot this year's September Issue of Vogue. In the 126 Years that Vogue has been a prominent fashion publication, this has been their very first issue shot by a black photographer.  The September Issue worked on by Beyoncé and Tyler Mitchell is honestly one for the books. This is the first time a force in fashion, being Vogue Magazine, has sought to capture and intertwine the culture, the Black experience, art, and fashion in beautiful storytelling. Beyoncé and Tyler Mitchell were able to capture and open up about what exactly it means to encapsulate one's identity, be black, be socially aware, be a creative, have a voice, and most importantly, be human. 

Up until now, for countless years, the fashion industry has set this "standard of beauty". 
It’s important to break from that set standard of beauty and welcome diversity into the forefront of fashion and the media. This allows young girls and boys to be exposed to diversity and understand and see the beauty in diversity. It’s important that we break that stigma and welcome diversity, allowing for representation and a positive role model for every kid, not just the set few.

"My mother taught me the importance not just of being seen but of seeing myself. As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too—in books, films, and on runways. It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives—that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling. They don’t have to be a certain type or fit into a specific category. They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic. They can explore any religion, fall in love with any race, and love who they want to love." - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Right now Beyoncé is that influence and role model. She made a notable choice in using her platform to give a voice to those unheard and in paving the way for the next generation of talent she had also chosen a black photographer to communicate that message. This choice that Beyoncé made not only opened up an amazing opportunity for this young black creative in such an acclaimed fashion magazine, but it also opens up a wave of opportunities for new talent and voices.

For many forces in fashion, Vogue, being one of them, to open the doors to diversity, has definitely influenced other people within the fashion industry to do the same. It has brought about a positive change in an industry that used to shy away from representation. To see the amount of black beauties captured in the September Issues of all of these influential fashion magazines is insanely awe-inspiring. It's things like this that will allow young girls and boys to see themselves and witness the beauty in them and diversity. And that's the importance in representation.

From embracing black beauties to “plus-sized” models to the inclusion of people of different races, backgrounds, and cultures. The industry is slowly becoming more open-minded, diverse, and socially aware as it progresses towards inclusivity. And that right there...is a beautiful thing.


If you made it this far, I actually luv you...because I know it was a lot, but it had to be said.

Anyways, thanks so much for reading loves! Until next time for more in fashion.

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