In a recent interview with WWD, Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani spoke about criticism of the Black page, which is a feature profiling fashionable black women on the Vogue Italia website. Here is what she had to say: “Oh, very much so, because some said it was becoming the ghetto of black, but it’s not true. These are very happy readers, happy that we are looking at them in different ways.”
I found the criticism surprising, not because people were speaking out against the Black page, but because it was given the label of “ghetto”. Diversity in fashion has been hard to come by forever, but Vogue Italia has really been a frontrunner in trying to change that idea and the introduction of the Black page is a move in such a positive direction. The term “ghetto” seems so out of place, and though taken in its original meaning to pertain to an isolated minority group, I can venture to guess that most people aren’t continuing to use that term in the original sense.
What about a page dedicated exclusively to black fashionable women is ghetto? Does it somehow show us as inferior or does it limit our opportunity? I would say of course not. It is the first step in recognizing our beauty, talents and achievements which often go overlooked. There aren’t many black women in the fashion industry to begin with (I can personally attest to this fact), thus praising the few that are or that are great testaments to true personal style is something that is overwhelmingly positive and it would be a great indicator of the Black page’s success if other publications and websites were to follow suit.
Even though the readers are happy as Mrs. Sozzani says with the segregated nature of Vogue Black, the industry doesn’t feel the same; however, they will not include more models or women of color in their pages to promote diversity making a separate site for black Fashion the only alternative.
What do you think of Vogue Italia’s Black page? Is it a move in the right direction or is it isolating us instead of including us?