This September the much anticipated Vogue September issue features a global collaboration; all iterations of the magazine have united under a single theme: Hope. Each issue is graced with a diverse array of hopeful stories, thoughtful insights, and initiatives for the future. The US issue features two alternate covers: both paintings, a rare departure from Vogue’s typical airbrushed photoshoot. The stunning rippling blue and black dominant pieces by Jordan Casteel and Kerry James Marshall, respectively, create an impactful message of Vogue’s intentions for the future.
As a concrete display of their goals moving forward, Vogue announced their participation in the 15% pledge. The challenge was initiated by Aurora James; feeling inspired in quarantine, she dared to image new ways of creating specific steps toward actualizing the aims of inclusivity. The pledge asks that business designate 15% of their shelf space to Black owned businesses. The number corresponds to the percentage of Black people in the current US population.
The US issue features a number of ads that highlight the new novelty of our time– expressing attitudes born of lockdown, styles designed for comfort and a refined measure of utility throughout.
Vogue clearly presents the sentiment that an earnest effort is being made: to actualize inclusivity, to improve ares not previously held accountable, and to listen to emerging voices.
A variety of muses present their perspectives in the section “State of Hope.” Ranging from activist Sage Grace Dolan-Sandrino, to Apple CEO Tim Cook, to artist Kara Walker and athlete Serena Williams. The variety presents a multi-faceted view of Hope– different modalities of reaching for change in the future.
A longer prosaic verse section “Vogue Voices” features 100 answers to the thought provoking question: what is the future of fashion? The insights shared on the triptych columned pages reveal wise insights, exciting propositions, and a new level of awareness striking a resonant chord in everyone. The thoughts that are shared help create a vague structure for the future, ways of innovating to achieve this renewed vigor for ethical excellence. The diverse voices illuminate many schools of thought, offering the general public a new insight into the inner works of the fashion world. Encouraging hope for the future, many of the shared voices are willing and eager to make the changes necessary to create sustainable, socially conscious fashion.
Stunning vignettes weave through the magazine’s middle section, highlighting singer Rosalía, actor Jonathan Majors, designer Federico Forquet and Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta. The wide range of voices presented help substantiate Vogue’s new voice: one of serious inquisition and exploration. In homage to vain tradition, there is a one page collage spread of various indulgent self care items– a reminder of the irrevocable obsession with physical beauty that the magazine is forever founded upon.
One Moschino ad reveals two pages of deliciously blue sky, complete with fluffy cloud overlay. The text reads: “This is not a Moschino advertisement… This is a message of Hope!”
The subsequent ads look appear to be business as usual, retaining the same elusive approach as before.
Both adaptations reveal the course that lays ahead. The fact is that consumers are becoming more conscious. The crises of this year have encouraged everyone towards compassion, having been enlightened by the visibility of so much apparent suffering.
Moral obligations are beginning to be fulfilled, people are being forced to walk the walk after years of talking.
The consequences of years of complacency have increased the imperative for change, the youngest generations being all too aware that time may be running out.
This Vogue issue is a perfect snapshot of this moment of division, when the future becomes separated into those willing to innovate and those clinging to old ways. Even in the magazine’s advertisements, this divide is clearly apparent.
One of the magazine’s last sections features the “unsung heroes” of the fashion industry, dressed in Fall’s finest. The numerous snapshots create a never before seen Fall trend imprint– revealing both the everyday and the extraordinary, the full range of fashion.
The simplicity of each shot displays each individual on a truly level playing field; the only way to distinguish between occupations is by reading the italicized script under their name.
It’s an honest look at Fall– replacing the usual inaccessible and aspirational in favor of being communal, relatable; truly representative of the diverse audience Vogue serves.
Overall, the issue felt like a breath of fresh air from the last few years of suffocated, elitist fashion– I will remain skeptical until I see continuous, concrete change but for now, Vogue, I’m impressed.