British Vogue’s upcoming February 2022 cover has sparked quite a bit of conversation since it was revealed on Friday.
However, while many are celebrating the images as brilliant and even groundbreaking, many have questioned the artistic liberties taken in the photos, styled by British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enniful.
The cover, which hits newsstands on Tuesday, features models Adut Akech, Amar Akway, Majesty Amare, Akon Changkou, Maty Fall, Janet Jumbo, Abény Nhial, Nyagua Ruea and Anok Yai. The nine women – who are of Ethiopian, Nigerian, Rwandan, Senegalese and South Sudanese origin – have walked the runway for some of the biggest fashion houses including Prada, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga.
All of the models seem to have intentionally made to appear darker in the new British Vogue shoot.
The article which accompanies these photos, written by contributing editor Funmi Fetto, aims to celebrate the fact that the era of celebrating or uplifting one African model at a time has shifted.
“You know, fashion tends to follow waves,” says Vogue Editor-In-Chief Edward Enniful, who styled the cover and the photos featured in the article. “We’ve had the Brazilian wave.We had the Dutch wave, the Russian wave, the Eastern European wave… And while, in the last decade, the Black model has come to prominence, I love that we are finally giving more space to African beauty.”
But comedian Akau Jambo suggests that the fashion world’s new found love of African beauty, and even these images, are rooted in something much more sinister.
Model and actress Iwani Mawocha, who originally supported Jambo’s point by sharing her own since-deleted darkened British Vogue image, says that the conversation requires more nuance.