Vogue takes pledge to feature more Black creatives
This change means a lot for POC, who primarily are left out of Vogue’s internal narrative.
Vogue recently made a promising commitment to the Black community.
The company took the Fifteen Percent Pledge to increase diversity in the company. The movement was created by Aurora James, founder of sustainable artisan accessories brand Brother Vellies. She noticed a lot of performative activism on social media from companies amidst the Black Lives Matter protests for the murder of George Floyd. She sought to turn hashtags into actual change for years to come.
The company’s mission is to allow at least fifteen percent of space in a company, whether that be on shelves or in the boardroom, to be held by Black men and women. The official website states that the inspiration came from the statistic that Black people make up fifteen percent of the U.S population. On a post on Instagram, James said, “Thank you to Vogue for committing to hiring more Black freelance photographers, writers, stylists, beauty teams and models.”
The 15% the publication promises to reach will be a massive increase from the small number of Black employees Vogue has now.
This change means a lot for POC, who primarily are left out of Vogue’s internal narrative. In June, Vogue’s publisher, Conde Nast, was called out for lack of inclusion on Twitter. Many ex-employees called out the company culture for not being welcoming and excluding Black creatives. Numerous incidents such as whitewashing, lack of Black creatives in leadership, and the recent lousy execution of legendary Olympian Simone Byles’ cover have damaged Conde Nast’s reputation.
Longtime Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour sent out a public apology letter following the viral criticism of the company. She said in her statement, “I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers, and other creators … We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes.”
Although Vogue is receiving backlash, they are not the sole party responsible for racism in fashion. The industry as a whole has a lot of work to do when it comes to presenting Black people and Black culture.