Beauty: Breaking Down The Boundaries

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

This April’s Vogue USA edition has the headline “Beauty Without Borders”. Three models from different countries grace the cover looking fashionable, yet ethnically diverse. This month, 28 models from around the world, are featured in the stand out 2020 Vogue US edition. In the Letter from the Editor, Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of Vogue USA, writes a forward about Vogue working en masse, together, to promote more respect, inclusivity, transparency, diversity and sustainability. All the Vogue editors met together and inspired the ideas for this month’s cover story, to celebrate global beauty. The Vogue editors nominated 28 models from around the world who they felt truly represented their country from the magazines 26 international editors. The insert has a row of miniature Vogue snapshots, the females are posing and captions with their name and country of origin are listed. The Vogue lettering is in a bold red which can be interpreted from a variety of aesthetic and symbolic standpoints. Red is a symbol of courage, boldness, power, blood, vitality and it is a darker hue of pink. Models from Mexico, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, France, Morocco and the Netherlands are some of the countries from which the covergirls hail. One sees the individual style, gaze, vibrant skin shades and clothing as cultural snapshots. Somalian model, Ugbad Abdi, is one of three women who grace the cover. Abdi has a glowing “coffee” colored complexion, she wears a vest by American Eagle, a St. Laurent dress and it is tied in with an olive satin Celine head scarf. Her hands touch Adut Akech’s shoulder in a unison like harmony. Akech wears a yellow velvet Vera Wang bra, bustier and corset with Diesel jeans. Her beautiful dark skin seems to be the centerpiece of the cover and one would never imagine, she once endured life as a Sudanese refugee. Next to Akech, Kaia Gerber, wears a Celine jewel designed black shirt and Ralph Lauren Collection jeans. Gerber is a spiting image of her mother, 90’s supermodel, Cindy Crawford. There is a magazine article which speaks about Adut Akech’s journey from South Sudan to Australia, her life story and current modeling career. Akech has done campaigns for Valentino and St. Laurent, modeled for 14 Vogue worldwide editions and has walked down major runways. Adut Akech landed the coveted finale role as a bride in Chanel’s fall 2018 couture show. The same year, she was chosen as model of the year, by model.com. Twenty year old, Adut, has had a rapid rise in haute couture fashion and has emerged as an influential voice. Adut says; “Before anything else, I am a refugee, and I’m proud of that. Now a Brooklyn based model, she was born in a war torn area that is now South Sudan and raised in Kakuma, Kenya, one of the world’s largest refugee camps. Adut Akech moved to Australia with her family at the age of eight. Last December, she spoke at The Fashion Awards in London and informed people about what it means to live as a refugee and have few resources in a broken and transient atmosphere. When the brushfires broke out in her home of Australia, she and her four siblings were forced to evacuate their home in Adelaide. Akech called on the help of the fashion industry to support fundraising efforts. She says; “I am just dong and saying what I know best.” The article states that Akech has just flown in from Australia and is hanging out in a Manhattan photo studio with French model and engineering student, Mariam de Vinzelle. Two models from the Netherlands, Jill Kortleve and Imaaan Hammam, fairly new transplants to NY, also join the team. Kaia Gerber, one of the only present American models, says; “Where else can you walk into a place and find people from all over the world… if you put a pin on a globe for every model, the whole thing would just light up.” The page continues about modeling diversity and stresses how star models were picked based on narrow lines of nationality, ethnicity and fleeting trends. Vogue and the industry have a better sense that beauty includes the entire world. The fashion arena used to group models into categories such as; “the Brazilian bombshell”, exotic Eastern European and “the all- American beauty”, this no longer fits. The international editions of Vogue, portray a tapestry of nations which suggest a more expansive way of seeing the world. Especially at a time, when political leaders want to build barriers and police borders, without looking outside of them. In the #MeToo movement, young women want to assert their voices and individuality. Ugbad Abdi was born in Somalia and her family fled due to the Somalian Civil War and they lived in a Kenyan refugee camp before landing in Iowa. She is challenging stereotypes about Muslim women and was the first runway model for Lavin and Fendi to wear hijab. She was in Vogue Arabia as well. Adesuwa Aighewi has a passion for ethical fashion, influenced by her West African, East Asian and South Asian heritage. Akech enjoys the fashion world, but speaks of the field as a stepping stone and platform. The goal, to be a more conscious and inclusive presence and profile the matters in which she believes.

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