Take a look at the picture above and tell me what do you think about it? I don’t know about you but this picture proves that the fashion world still has to learn about the Black culture. Some of the big fashion names love to deny that racism or prejudice does not exist in the fashion or modeling industry and it is a “Diverse”. However this fashion spread by Vogue Italia shows that the fashion industry still does not know about being culturally aware, if so we would not have to keep running into controversial pictures. I am especially disappointed in Vogue Italia for not researching if these images portray negative stereotypes of Black women.
I love looking at editorials from different countries especially France and Italy, but recently Vogue Italia came under fire for their spread “Haute Mess”(Hot Mess). In early March Vogue Italia was getting praise and recognition for putting a Black model Joan Smalls on the cover which has been very long time, but the “Haute Mess” spread caused uproar on various fashion blogs. The famous American photographer Steven Meisel shot this spread, and had high-profile models Coco Rocha, Jessica Stam, and Joan Smalls who dressed in “Hood Fashion”. The models wore colorful weaves, toe nails over their sandals, gold teeth, and tattoos on their neck and face. The magazine claimed that they drew inspiration from the “Drag Culture” but the messy side of it. (Fashionista)
Some bloggers were accusing the editor of Vogue Italia Franca Sozanni being racist, but other blogs felt like it was ignorance on her part. On Racialicious the author argue “Whether its racist, ignorant or brilliant is up to the general public to decry, or if it’s brilliant, prop up. I, for one, feel that “Haute Mess” gave me an impression of ignorance– with a spot of brilliance, to be honest“. I was reading on another blog Vibe and he gave his opinion on the editorial “I will give Vogue Italia the benefit of the doubt that it was not their intention to be racist or offend anyone, but let’s keep it real for a minute: How many white girls [or any other ethnic backgrounds for that matter] do you know that dress or look like this? Exactly“. Recently the editor Franca Sozanni was asked about the spread but she defended it and did not understand the controversy. Franca Sozanni “A racist image, I really do not understand“(The Cut). I will say that the fashion spread is not racist, but it is ignorant…
When I first looked at this editorial I was kind offended because it is depicting stereotypes of Black women from the inner cities. I want everyone to think for a moment, who wears those type of hairstyles or clothes? We or I at least seen these looks before (early 2000’s) on this website called Hot Ghetto Mess and that in itself was a degrading site. If anything the credit should go to the women they copied from. All in all the spread was ignorant and classless, but imo Franca Sozanni probably did not mean ill intent. Maybe next time Franca Sozanni need to reseach racial stereotypes and the inner cities. Hopefully we will never see “Hood” fashion editorials again
Edited April 5, 2012