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Franca Sozzani's all-black July issue of Italian Vogue was arguably her buzziest to date. Despite these efforts to promote diversity in the fashion industry, the runways at Milan Fashion Week last month remained pretty much just as white as they always are, giving Sozzani even more reason not to stop with the all-black issue. She'll continue to push boundaries with November's L'Uomo Vogue, which she's dedicating to Africa. Franca got the idea from Forest Whitaker and Bernard-Henri Lévy, who guest-edited the issue. Robin Givhan writes in the Washington Post:
She wanted to focus on people, projects and ideas. She did not want to make an aesthetic statement about Africa. So she didn't fill the magazine with images of Western models in overpriced vaguely ethnic frocks. And unlike a recent issue of India's Vogue magazine, which sparked outrage among activists and humanitarians, this one won't show peasants posing with $5,000 handbags.
… "Fashion is not only about clothes," Sozzani says. She broadens it so that it speaks to the vague and all-encompassing notion of identity.
In fact, Sozzani has avoided using models in L'Uomo Vogue. "I think it's ridiculous to see a 16-year-old wearing clothes he'll never afford at his age," she tells Givhan. Instead of models, Sozzani photographs men and women in their own clothes. Next month's issue will feature Whitaker, Quincy Jones, John Legend, Matt Damon, and Michelle Obama "all expressing their affection for and their personal connection to Africa," Givhan writes. Half the issue's ad revenue will go to Africa-related charities.
And though L'Uomo Vogue's circulation is a mere 80,000, the people it reaches are the folks who decide what's fashionable and what's beautiful. So the ideas could trickle down to mainstream outlets. We hope they pay attention.