Covers & Content Annual Review, Part 3: Flare

By: Emily Yakashiro

Welcome to the last instalment of our year-end series of Covers & Content! Did you miss Part 1 on Elle Canada? Check it out here. Part 2 on Fashion can be found here.

This last video focuses on all of the 2013 issues of Flare, which I suggest is the most explicitly feminist Canadian fashion magazine currently. As Flare is the last of the three major Canadian fashion magazines to be reviewed, I will be comparing it to Elle Canada and Fashion, finding out which magazine is the most diverse!

Complete Transcript: “Closet Feminist Covers & Content Part 3: Flare

Curious what Canada’s most diverse fashion magazine is? Today we find out!

Welcome the third and final video for our first-ever annual wrap up of our Covers & Content column! This video is the culmination of a project that The Closet Feminist does all year. The purpose is to look at each issue published in 2013 by the three major Canadian fashion magazines-Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, and determine how diverse the issue is based on the cover star and the models used in the editorials.

We’ve based our summaries on three questions:

  1. Does the cover feature a person of colour?
  2. Do any of the major editorials feature models of colour?
  3. Do any of the major editorials feature a “plus-size” model?

As I mentioned in the first video of this series, when I say person/model/woman of colour, I mean someone who does not appear to have white privilege at first glance. And when I say a “plus-size” model, I mean someone who does not appear to have thin privilege at first glance.

For this last video, we’ll be looking at the diversity Flare magazine. I’ll end the video by comparing it to Elle Canada and Fashion, and we’ll see which Canadian fashion magazine has the best representation of minorities. Flare printed 12 issues this year, all of which had editorials.

Flare had a positive start to the year with a woman of colour on the cover–Lea Michele from Glee.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Star Style” in Flare January 2013. Pics by Chris Nicholls, styling by Elizabeth Cabral. Model, Ashtyn Franklin (Sutherland Models).]

The rest of the issue was fairly status quo: one horoscope-inspired editorial starring one thin, white model.

February had Paulina Gretzky on the cover, which I personally found to be an interesting choice. Canadian media has a fascination with her for obvious reasons, which is interesting since she’s American and a staunch Republican at that. In terms of fame, she seems to be famous just for her familial connection.

Given this, I wish Flare had gone with a more relevant or diverse celebrity, like Ellen Wong, the Canadian star of The Carrie Diaries, who they did a small interview with at the back of this issue.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “The Patti Smith Experience” in Flare February 2013. Pics by Max Abadian, styling by Elizabeth Cabral. Model, Anaïs Pouliot.]

Overall, the February issue was a Whiteout Issue, which I defined in the last video. It had just one editorial, featuring a thin and white model.

Flare’s March issue was definitely the low point of the year for me personally. It was a whiteout issue, featuring Charlotte Free on the cover shortly after she made some highly offensive comments about violence against women.

FL Mar extras 1

Above: The mood board page from Flare‘s highly problematic March issue.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Japanese Wave” in Flare March 2013. Pics by Chris Nicholls, styling by Elizabeth Cabral. Model, Ciara (Next Los Angeles).]

The rest of the issue I found to be quite racist and problematic, as it relied heavily on cultural appropriation and Orientalism, evidently attempting to draw upon Japanese culture as an overall theme of sorts for this issue.

When this issue of Flare hit newstands in March, The Closet Feminist did an article critiquing the issue as a whole, however, it’s not the only Canadian fashion magazine to feature some seriously problematic content.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Tokyo Pop” in Fashion April 2013. Styled by George Antonopoulos, pics by Gabor Jurina. Model, Karina Gubanova (though she is not credited in the spread).]

Indeed, as I pointed out in the last video, Fashion committed a similar faux pas with a yellow face spread which they printed in their April issue.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Freestyling the Blues” in Flare March 2013. Pics by Max Abadian, styling by Fiona Green. Model, Charlotte Free AND “A Fine Mess”. Pics by Mark Peckmezian, styling by Elizabeth Cabral. Model, Ashtyn (Sutherland).]

Beyond this, there were three editorials including Free’s cover story, none of them had models of colour or plus-size models.

The April issue of Flare had Diane Kruger on the cover, and had two editorials which were actually relatively diverse.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Five Easy Pieces” in Flare April 2013. Pics by Peter Ash Lee, styling by caroline Belhumeur. Model, Mackenzie Hamilton (Richards Models).]

The first editorial starred a model of colour exclusively for the first time in Flare’s 2013 publishing year.

FL Apr Ed 2

Above: From Flare‘s April 2013 editorial. This is a good example of a Token Diversity Spread.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Garden Variety”. Pics by Owen Bruce, styling by Corey Ng. Models, Cate Chant and Shiya Zhao (Sutherland) and Emily van Ray (Anita Norris Models).]

The second editorial was a Token Diversity Spread, which I defined in the previous video. It starred three models, but only one of them was a model of colour. None of the editorials featured plus-sized models.

May starred Christina Hendricks on the cover–the first and only magazine out of the three magazines we discuss in this project to feature a cover star who might be considered plus-size!

[Editorial Picture Credits: “The Cool Inheritance” in Flare May 2013. Styling by Fiona Green, pics by Andnrew Soule. Models, Kirsten and Billie Rose Owen.]

Other than that, May is a whiteout issue. The first editorial stars model Kirsten Owen and her daughter Billie Rose.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “pulp fashion” in Flare May 2013. Styling by Elizabeth Cabral, pics by Chris Nicholls. Model, Catrina Stella (Next Los Angeles).]

The second editorial for the May issue stars one thin, white model.

June was also a whiteout issue, starring Greta Gerwig on the cover.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Summer of the Suit” in Flare June 2013. Styling by Fiona Green, pics by Max Abadian. Model, Hannah Holman (Ford Models) AND “Artists in Residence” pics by Norman Wong, styling by Rita Liefhebber. Model, Anna Edwards (Next).]

There were two editorials both typical and status quo, as they both starred thin, white models.

July starred Flare’s second cover star of colour–Olivia Munn! This issue was actually particularly diverse and noteworthy overall, we even wrote a piece about it, praising what we considered to be especially progressive.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Cruel Summer” in Flare July 2013. Pics by Andrew Soule, styling by Rita Liefhebber. Model, unknown]

There was so much good stuff in this issue, yet it’s too bad that this influence didn’t spread to the editorial, which featured one thin white model.

In August, for the second month in a row, Flare chose a woman of colour for their cover: supermodel Arlenis Sosa.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Every Day is a Luxury” in Flare August 2013. Styling, Fiona Green, pics by Jason Kim. Model, Arlenis Sosa]

Sosa starred in the only editorial for the August issue, which was Flare’s smallest issue of the year.

September was a big month for Flare. They debuted their new layout, catching the eye of major fashion news sources everywhere, though not necessarily for good reasons: Amber Heard was on the cover, and the cover was mocked widely for featuring such a boring picture of her.

FL Sept Ed 2

Above: From one of Flare‘s September editorials.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “New Look Ahead” in Flare September 2013. Styling, Rita Liefhebber, pics by Andrew Soule. Model, Julia Dunstall (Marilyn Model Agency) AND “Into the Wild”, styling by Martha Violante, pics by Andrew Yee. Model, Li Xiao Xing (Women Management NYC).]

September’s editorials were pretty good, one starring a model of colour exclusively, the other starring one thin, white model.

October saw Kerry Washington on the cover, another woman of colour which was definitely encouraging.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “You’re Not From Around These Parts” in Flare October 2013. Styling by Rita Liefhebber, pics by Andrew Soule. Model, Julia Dunstall (Marilyn Model Agency).]

This issue had two editorials, the first  starring a thin white model.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “In the Mix” in October Flare 2013. Styling by Tiyana Grulovic, pics by Miguel Jacob. Models, Vita Chambers, Carmen Elle, Devon Sproule, Basia Bulat, Elise Legrow, Shi Wisdom.]

The other was a Token Diversity Spread starring six Toronto-based musicians. Of these six, just two were women of colour, and only one of these women could be considered ‘plus size’.

November also starred a woman of colour-Alexa Chung! Like Elle Canada, November’s issue of Flare was particularly noteworthy, and again, we wrote a whole article dedicated to its awesomeness.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Schooled by Alexa” in Flare November 2013. Styling, Kemal Harris, pics by Jason Kim. Model, Alexa Chung AND “Pastels Take Shape”, styling by Corey Ng, pics by Petra Collins. Model, Romane Villeneuve (Dulcedo Model Management) AND “Moving Pieces” styled by Tiyana Grulovic, pics by Norman Wong. Model, Marie-Eve (Next Models).]

The editorials were less diverse–of the three printed, only Chung’s cover story could be an editorial featuring a woman of colour. None of them had a plus-size model.

Flare closed out their year with a whiteout issue, which is really too bad since we love cover star Kristen Bell and the general girl-power feel of the whole issue.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “This Modern Lust” in Flare December 2013. Styling by Rita Liefhebber, pics by Autumn de Wilde. Model, Lizzy Caplan]

There were two editorials in the December issue–one starring comedienne Lizzy Caplan who is a Closet Feminist favourite.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “New Order” in Flare December 2013. Styling by Tiyana Grulovic, pics by Andrew Yee. Models, Masha (Folio) and Britt B. (Elmer Olsen Models).]

The second editorial featured two thin, white models.

Okay, so let’s recap:

Flare, during 2013 put out 12 issues. Of these 12, 5 featured cover stars of colour.

They had a total of 22 editorials, six of which featured models of colour. Since two of these were Token Diversity Spreads, however, there was only 4 editorials from Flare this year that starred a model of colour exclusively. There was just one issue of Flare that featured one plus-size model for one page, the same as Elle Canada.

Overall, I will say that personally, Flare is definitely my favourite Canadian fashion magazine. Their makeover that took place in September was a smart move, and even before that it was clear to me that Flare is a feminist fashion magazine.

Looking back on all the issues of all three magazines, I would say Elle Canada is also quite feminist. They both had double the amount of cover stars of colour than Fashion, and clearly make efforts in their reporting to recognize the work of women of all backgrounds. There’s always room for improvement though, and until I see the erasure of Whiteout Issues and Token Diversity Spreads entirely from all three magazines, I can’t say that I’ll be completely at ease with the work they are doing.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 8.34.53 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 3.23.20 PM

Elle Canada 2013 Table

Above: A review of all three magazines for comparison.

So that wraps up our first annual summary of our Covers & Content column. Diversity in Canadian fashion magazines is really important, and The Closet Feminist will continue to monitor the progress of Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare in the coming year. Join us every month for a summary of each magazine on theclosetfeminist.ca

TERMINOLOGY

Whiteout Issue: an issue of a fashion magazine where neither the cover star nor models booked/used for any of the major editorials are people of colour.

Token Diversity Spread: When a fashion magazine books/uses an ensemble of models, including some models of colour or models representing other minorities in the fashion world (i.e., plus size models or visibly older models), but are careful not to allow the minorities chosen to make up the majority of the spread or the majority of models chosen.

 

 

Covers & Content Annual Review, Part 2: Fashion

By: Emily Yakashiro

Our first birthday is tomorrow! Starting the celebration early, here’s a new video for you: part two of our three-part video series summing up our monthly column Covers & Content. Did you miss our first video/part one? Check it out here.

This instalment focuses on all of the 2013 issues of “Canada’s #1 Fashion and Beauty Magazine,” Fashion. In this video I introduce two new terms to better identify patterns of diversity, and lack thereof in our three Canadian fashion magazines, including “whiteout issue” and “Token Diversity Spread“. I also discuss Fashion‘s yellow-face spread they published earlier this year.

Complete Transcript: “Closet Feminist Covers & Content Part 2: Fashion

Hi everyone, welcome to The Closet Feminist’s second video of our three-part series wrapping up our monthly column Covers and Content.

In the last video, I looked at the cover stars and editorials of Elle Canada, and for this video, I’m going to focus on Fashion, Canada’s most popular fashion magazine*

As a quick recap about this project*, Covers & Content is our monthly column where we take a look at each of the three major Canadian fashion magazines: Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, to see how they are faring in terms of diversity. When going through each issue, we ask three main questions:

  1. Does the cover feature a person of colour?
  2. Do any of the major editorials feature models of colour?
  3. Do any of the major editorials feature a “plus-size” model?

So let’s take a look at what Fashion had to offer in terms of diversity for the 2013 year.

Fashion put out 11 issues this year,  with their Winter and Summer issues covering December 2012 and January 2013 and June/July respectively.

Fashion started out their year with Canadian super model Coco Rocha on the cover. We love Rocha for her activism, as seen in this last year especially with her efforts to protect the rights of underage models.

At this point in this project, I’d like to introduce a phrase to describe a fashion magazine which has a white cover star and no models of colour in their editorials: a whiteout issue.

[Picture credits: “Hot Coco” in Fashion January/Winter 2013. Styled by Zeina Esmail, photographs by Gabor Jurina. Model, Coco Rocha AND “Period Drama” styled by George Antonopoulos, pics by Gabor Jurina. Model unknown, though curiously the prop furniture is credited… AND “Blush Hour” styled by Tammy Eckenswiller, pics by Seiji Fujimoro. Model unknown.]

For example, I would describe the January issue of Fashion as a whiteout issue. Despite a great cover star, Fashion starts their year off with three editorials if you include Rocha’s cover story, all using thin, white models.

FA March Ed 2B

Picture above: from “The Artist” styled by George Antonopoulos in Fashion March 2013. Pics by Moo. Model, Kirsten Owen.

[Editorial Picture Credits in Video: “Who are Hue?” in Elle Canada April 2013 styled by Cloe Legault, pics by Jean-Claude Lussier. Model, Kayley Chabot (Elite Toronto) AND “Power Chic”, styled by Fritz, pics by Nelson Simoneau. Model, Erin MacDonald (Elite Model Management)]

I want to emphasize that a “whiteout issue” is not something unique to Fashion. In fact, you might recall from the first Covers & Content video that Elle Canada had 6 whiteout issues, which  technically comprised half of their publishing year as they put out a total of 12 issues in 2013.

Returning to Fashion, February saw to another great cover star–Krysten Ritter! She’s a Closet Feminist favourite for being an out loud and proud feminist and having great style!

[Editorial Picture Credits: “(de)signs of Spring” in Fashion Feb 2013 styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Gabor Jurina. Model, Grace Mahary AND “math test” styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Richard Bernardin. Model, unknown.]

The issue is definitely more positive than the January one, because it has two editorials, one starring a model of colour Grace Mahary!

The March issue saw to Fashion’s first cover star of colour, Hailee Steinfeld, who incidentally had nothing but good things to say about feminist super star Tavi Gevinson.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Busy Bodies” in Fashion March 2013 styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Jamie Nelson. Model, unknown. AND  “The Artist” styled by George Antonopoulos, pics by Moo. Model, Kirsten Owen]

The March issue had two editorials, but both of them were disappointingly status quo starring one thin white model each.

April starred Canadian actress and star of the hit-show Revenge, Emily VanCamp on the cover. While VanCamps interview was great, the rest of this whiteout issue was a total disaster.

The April issue had two editorials, the first one called “Tokyo Pop” was incredibly offensive and racist. I would go so far as to say that it is portraying yellow-face, with the kabuki-esque makeup and samurai top knot hairstyle. I’d also like to point out that though it is obvious, this is NOT an Asian model, it is a model named Karina Gubanova.

FA April Ed 1B

Picture above: from the highly offensive/yellow-face spread called “Tokyo Pop” in Fashion April 2013. Styled by George Antonopoulos, pics by Gabor Jurina. Model, Karina Gubanova (though she is not credited in the spread).

This trainwreck of racism, Orientalism, and stereotyping was evocative of Katy Perry’s highly offensive AMA performance. In both the Fashion spread on the left and Perry’s performance on the right, we see white woman wearing a panoply of “Asian-inspired” clothing, though in both cases the outfits are being passed off as specifically Japanese.

We see our model eating sushi splay-legged on a sidewalk curb, and sitting on a fire hydrant with a Hello Kitty pillow across her lap.

Then again, what can I expect from a spread that is described as having, “cartoon colours and Asian cuts [which] bring a manga mood to the streets of Miami”. Give me a break Fashion, this spread sucks.

[Editorial picture credit: “Metallica”  in Fashion April 2013 styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Chris Nicholls. Model, unknown]

The other spread, while not incredibly racist, is rather entirely forgettable, starring one thin white model.

Fashion’s May issue had Isla Fisher on the cover. Ironically, this is called the “Age Issue”, and poor Fisher–she’s only 37 years old, yet to quote Arrested Development Fashion , “airbrushed her into oblivion”.

[Editorial Picture Credit: “High Contrast” in Fashion May 2013 styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Chris Nicholls. Model, unknown]

This month was a whiteout issue, having two editorials–the one shown with a thin white model, but the other one was actually quite exciting.

[Editorial PIcture Credit: “Animal Attraction”, styled by Susie Sheffman, pics by Gabor Jurina. Model, Donna DeMarco]

The second editorial starred 68-year-old Canadian model Donna DeMarco! DeMarco is white, but it was exciting to see Fashion stray from the status quo  somewhat as we know fashion and the media in general worships youth and young models.

Next we come to Fashion’s “Summer Issue” which covered June and July. It was a whiteout issue, with Lana del Rey on the cover.

 [Editorial Picture Credits: “central air” styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Gabor Jurina. Model, unknown. AND “Lana Mania” styled by Heidi Meck, pics by Mark Wiliams and Sara Hirakawa. Model, Lana del Rey.]

There were two editorials–one was del Rey’s cover story, the other starred a thin white model.

With August came Demi Lovato on the cover, who is a woman of colour. I will say right now that Lovato’s cover story was my favourite of Fashion’s publishing year. I wasn’t really all that familiar with Lovato before I read this interview, but I will say now I am a total fan.

She shared some brilliant insights, and definitely seems like she’s a feminist even if she didn’t explicitly say so in her interview– and you can’t go wrong with that!

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Ferocity” styled by George Antonopoulos, pics by Moo. Model, Alyssah Ali, though she is not credited in the editorial. AND “Demi Goddess” styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Chris Nicholls. Model, Demi Lovato.]

Lovato’s inspiring attitude evidently caught on with Fashion in August, because Demi had her own editorial, and the other one printed starred a model of colour!

Next up is the big one–Fashion’s September issue. For their most important issue of the year, Fashion chose Olivia Wilde for the cover.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Grey Zone” styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Chris Nicholls. Model, unknown. AND “Public Enemy” styled by George Antonopoulos, pics by Gabor Jurina. Models, unknown.]

They had two editorials this month–one starring a thin model of colour, the other starring two thin white models.

October to me was curious. Canadian supermodel Dara Werebowy was on the cover–which, by the way, is her ninth cover for Fashion. I’m sorry, but if Werebowy has had the cover 8 times before, why didn’t they go with someone different like say a woman of colour or someone who is plus-size?

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Daria” styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Chris Nicholls. Model, Daria Werebowy]

Even though her interview was quite good and she had lots of interesting things to say, it seemed like a wasted opportunity to diversify their publication.

Before discussing the other October editorial, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce another new term: a Token Diversity Spread. A Token Diversity Spread is when a fashion magazine hires an ensemble of models for one editorial, being careful to choose a couple models representing minorities, but never allowing such models to make up the majority.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Graphic Games” in Elle Canada May 2013, styled by Sara Bruneau and Anthony Mitropoulos, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Models: Valerie & Emily (Ben Barry Agency), Ran (Dulcedo Model Management), Marie-Josée Perreault & Jessica Langlois (Scoop Agency), Elisabeth (Specs), Naro Lokurka (Push), and Leda Montereali (Rodeo)]

Like a whiteout issue, a Token Diversity Spread is not unique to Fashion. For example, I noted in the first Covers & Content video that one of Elle Canada’s May editorials called “Graphic Games” had what I would now call a Token Diversity Spread. They hired “9 striking women”, and while they were all sizes and ages, just 3 of the women were models of colour.

[Editorial Picture Credit: “Reach for the Top” in Fashion October 2013 styled by George Antonopoulos, pics by Gabor Jurina. Models, unfortunately unknown.]

Getting back to Fashion’s October editorial, I would say it is a Token Diversity Spread. To be honest, I was a bit stumped at first with this editorial. While Fashion declared this shoot to be “experimental”, I found that to be code for “poor lighting and distant shots of the models’ faces”, which, until you zoom in on the pictures like I’ve done here, it’s a little tough to see at first glance that there are women of colour present at all.

Indeed, between the darker lighting used for the shoot and the fact that they unfortunately yet unsurprisingly didn’t name the models used anywhere in the magazine, I cannot say for certain how many models of colour were booked for this shoot, but I can say there was at least one, and that none of the models used in this editorial were plus size.

Fashion’s November issue had Miley Cyrus on the cover–10 days after her tour-de-force racist performance at the VMAs. Given this, and the offensive editorial from back in April we seriously debated cancelling our Fashion subscription, which we discussed with our readers on The Closet Feminist’s Facebook page.

[Editorial Picture Credit: “Passing Time” styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Chris Nicholls. Model, unknown]

While they may have chosen a problematic cover star, their editorials were a slight comfort. There were two, one starring a thin white model.

FA Nov Ed 2B

Picture above of Model Alaud, from Fashion November 2013.

[Editorial Picture Credit: “In Synch” in Fashion November 2013 styled by George Anotonopoulos, pics by Gabor Jurina. Models: Dauphine McKee, Naro, Shelby, Vita, Lauren, Jessa, and Alaud. Last names and agencies unknown.]

The other November editorial was a Token Diversity Spread of Canadian models with two out of seven models being models of colour, and no plus-size models.

Fashion closed out the year with a surprise appearance from Courtney Love on the cover for their December 2013/January 2014 issue.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Lady in Waiting” styled by George Antonopoulos, pics by Gabor Jurina. Model, unknown. AND “Heroine Chic” styled by Zeina Esmail, pics by Chris Nicholls. Models, unknown, though the animal handlers are credited]

Overall, it  December was a whiteout issue: they had two editorials, both of them starring thin, white models.

Okay, let’s recap:

Fashion, during 2013 put out 11 issues. Only two of these issues featured cover stars of colour.

They had a total of 23 editorials printed this year. Of these 23 editorials, 5 featured models of colour. Keep in mind that since 2 of those editorials were Token Diversity Spreads, just 3 editorials starred models of colour exclusively. There was not a single issue of Fashion that featured a plus-size model this year.

I gotta say that overall, in my personal opinion, Fashion is my least favourite Canadian fashion magazine right now. It’s like a Canadian Vogue, and not in a good way–it’s elitist, and focused on a culture of luxury that isn’t relevant to me as a reader.

Furthermore, “diversity” to Fashion seems to mean hiring thin, black models occasionally. For example, there are no asian models in any issue, yet they hired a white model to essentially do a yellow-face spread in April. Bottom line: there are no models of any other visible ethnicities, and no plus size models anywhere.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 3.23.20 PM

While it would seem at first glance that Fashion did really well this year in terms of diversity, in fact doing better than Elle Canada overall, I’m sorry to say, but I don’t have high hopes for Fashion in 2014. But you never know–they could really change things up in the new year, and I would have to eat my words this time next year. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Join me next time for our third and final video for “Covers & Content” where I’m going to take a look at Flare and their 2013 year.

TERMINOLOGY

Whiteout Issue: an issue of a fashion magazine where neither the cover star nor models booked/used for any of the major editorials are people of colour.

Token Diversity Spread: When a fashion magazine books/uses an ensemble of models, including some models of colour or models representing other minorities in the fashion world (i.e., plus size models or visibly older models), but are careful not to allow the minorities chosen to make up the majority of the spread or the majority of models chosen.

*For elaboration of what I mean when I say “model of colour” and “plus size model”, please see the first video.

TABLE NOTES:

*Was technically called the “Winter issue”, comprising the December 2012/January 2013 issue. 

**Similarly, the Jun/July issue was rolled into one and called the “Summer” issue.

***The year end-issue, again called the “Winter” issue covers Dec 2013/Jan 2014.

Covers & Content Annual Review, Part 1: Elle Canada

By: Emily Yakashiro

We’ve officially got a whole 12 months worth of data for our monthly column “Covers & Content“! To celebrate, we’re wrapping up our year-end summary of this column by making three videos to examine each of the three major Canadian fashion magazines including Fashion, Flare, and Elle Canada. We’re going in alphabetical order, so Elle Canada is up first! Please see the video complete with the transcript below.

Complete Transcript: “Closet Feminist Covers & Content Video 1: Elle Canada”

Hey folks welcome to the first annual summary of Covers & Content! The Closet Feminist turns a year old on December 10th, and to celebrate it seemed like a good idea to make some new videos!

Covers & Content is our monthly column where we take a look at each of the three major Canadian fashion magazines: Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, to see how they are faring in terms of diversity. When going through each issue, we ask three main questions:

  1. Does the cover feature a person of colour?
  2. Do any of the major editorials feature models of colour?
  3. Do any of the major editorials feature a “plus-size” model?

I want to clarify a few things with these questions.

EC Sept '13 Whiteness

[Editorial Picture Credits: “New Look” in Elle Canada September 2013. Styled by Sara Bruneau, pics by Richard Bernardin. Model, Bianca (Specs)]

First, when I say person/model/woman of colour, I mean someone who does not appear to have white privilege at first glance. And when I say a “plus-size” model, I mean someone who does not appear to have thin privilege at first glance.

Second, we focus on the cover star because their persona and face is what is used to draw in readers and actually sell the magazine. Who is put on the cover says a lot about who that magazine considers worthy of recognition, further fame and notoriety, and is generally powerful enough to draw a crowd.

Third, the editorials, or major fashion stories of each issue are being examined because they are a fashion magazine’s raison d’etre, and are their major feat for each month. Editorials arguably represent the culmination of the ideals and inspiration for each issue. Who they hire to show off their opus of the month, the models, says a lot.

[Picture credit: “What is Punk” in Elle Canada September 2013. Styled by Anthony Mitropoulos, photographs by Leda & St. Jacques. Models, Masha (Folio) and Zoe Colivas (Sutherland Models)]

To be clear: whiteness and thinness is not an aesthetic, or artistic preference, though many designers and folks involved in the fashion industry argue otherwise. Continuing to privilege thinness and whiteness* upholds or indicates a prejudice against those who do not fit into that category.

Fourth, I recognize that diversity means a lot of things including gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and so forth. For the purpose of this study I have zeroed in on weight and race in particular because it is something I feel comfortable keeping track of*. Keeping track of models of colour and plus size models seems the most accessible to me for this project, though again, I recognize “diversity” means more than that.

Lastly, this may seem a little obvious, but we’re looking at Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, because they are the three major Canadian magazines. Being a Canadian website, The Closet Feminist is especially interested in the fashion-related media produced in this country, so we subscribe to all three. The covers shown in this video are the subscriber covers, and might look a little different than the newsstand covers did.

This annual summary is a lot of work–we’re going through over 30 magazines, so we’re going to be breaking this report up into three videos, one per each magazine. We’ll put the summary of the each magazine in table format on the website proper along with the transcript for each video.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at our first magazine: Elle Canada!

Elle Canada put out 12 issues this year, 10 of which had editorials.

January 2013 was a great start for Elle Canada. Jennifer Lopez was on the cover, and there were two editorials in the magazine, one featuring Canadian model Grace Mahary, who is a woman of colour. Neither editorial had a plus-size model.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “In the Desert Heat” in Elle Canada January 2013. Styled by Fritz, photos by Jean-Claude Lussier. Model, Elyse Saunders (Elmer Olsen Model Management) AND “”Black or White?” in same issue, styled by Sara Bruneau, photos by Leda & St. Jacques. Model, Grace Mahary (Elmer Olsen Model Management)]

The February issue was the highlight of the year in my opinion. Despite being thin on inspirational fashion content including missing an editorial entirely, it starred Janelle Monae on the cover, who is definitely a Closet Feminist favourite.  Her interview with Elle Canada reporter Kathryn Hudson is totally inspiring.

March saw Canadian Mad Men star Jessica Paré on the cover. Something interesting I’ve noticed personally that whenever she is interviewed in a magazine, there is a heavy focus on her character, Megan, on Mad Men, and her relationship to Don Draper–not all that much on Paré herself which is curious. I love Mad Men as much as the next gal, but I hate when interviews with women are so focused on the men in their lives.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Top Hits” in Elle Canada March 2013, styled by Anthony Mitropoulos, pictures by Leda & St. Jacques. Models, Irina Lazareanu (Push Management) and Zuzana (Folio Montreal) AND “POP” in the same issue, styled by Sara Bruneau, photos by Neil Mota. Model, Chantal Stafford-Abbott (Specs Model Management)]

Paré aside, the March issue had two editorials, though neither of them had a model of colour or a plus-size model.

April’s Elle Canada had Victoria Beckham on the cover. While Beckham said some very interesting, feminist things,  Elle Canada fell flat again in terms of diversity: three editorials, zero models of colour, and no plus size models.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Who are Hue?” in Elle Canada April 2013 styled by Cloe Legault, pics by Jean-Claude Lussier. Model, Kayley Chabot (Elite Toronto) AND “In the Sun”, styled by Azamit, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Model, Amanda Laine (Elmer Olsen Model Management) AND “Power Chic”, styled by Fritz, pics by Nelson Simoneau. Model, Erin MacDonald (Elite Model Management)]

May saw Elle Canada’s second cover star of colour–Canadian model Grace Mahary! However, it’s important to note that Mahary doesn’t even get an interview or cover story in the magazine, she’s just in one of the editorials. This leads me to feel that her cover appearance was a token gesture of diversity.

The May issue had three editorials.The third editorial–the one pictured– is fantastic–it features nine different models of all ages, shapes, sizes, including models of colour.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Graphic Games”, styled by Sara Bruneau and Anthony Mitropoulos, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Models: Valerie & Emily (Ben Barry Agency), Ran (Dulcedo Model Management), Marie-Josée Perreault & Jessica Langlois (Scoop Agency), Elisabeth (Specs), Naro Lokurka (Push), and Leda Montereali (Rodeo)]

While this is exciting and different, it’s also interesting that minorities in the fashion world seem to have to share a spread–they rarely, if ever, seem to get one of their own, especially for older models and plus-size models.

EC May Ed 3c

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Lumière” in Elle Canada May 2013 styled by Fritz, pics by Neil Mota. Model, Erin Macdonald (Elite Toronto) AND “Tokyo Society” styled by Sara Bruneau, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Model, Kori Richardson (Elmer Olsen)]

I’d also like to note that it wasn’t like the May issue was lacking the page space to allow for a more diverse editorial. The first editorial starring one thin, white model got ten pages, the second editorial also starring a thin, white model had 10 pages as well!

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Graphic Games”, styled by Sara Bruneau and Anthony Mitropoulos, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Models: Valerie & Emily (Ben Barry Agency), Ran (Dulcedo Model Management), Marie-Josée Perreault & Jessica Langlois (Scoop Agency), Elisabeth (Specs), Naro Lokurka (Push), and Leda Montereali (Rodeo)]

In total, there’s about thirty pages available for diverse representation in fashion, yet only 9 were spent on minorities. Now, it’s better to have these minorities have one page each than nothing at all–but just barely.

Moving on to June, Elle Canada put Rebecca Hall on their cover. Despite lackluster fashion inspiration overall, the issue contained two fantastic articles on fashion and cultural appropriation which made it worth the buy.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Rive Gauche” in Elle Canada June 2013. Styled by Azamit, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Model, Erin Macdonald AND “Dolce Vita” same issue, styled by Sara Bruneau, pics by same people. Model, Amanda Laine (Elmer Olsen)]

Too bad the June editorials weren’t as inspiring–they both starred thin, white models. Pretty boring if you ask me, yet between the two editorials the models got a whopping 22 pages.

July was probably my second-favourite cover story which starred Canadian actress Shay Mitchell! Mitchell gave an engaging, nuanced interview discussing everything from her identity as someone who is mixed race to her activism to help end sex trafficking. Maybe I’m being a bit biased because she grew up here in Vancouver, but seriously, great choice Elle Canada for a cover star.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Paris Blues” in Elle Canada July 2013, styled by Fritz, pics by Neil Mota. Model, Charlotte (Folio) AND “Free Spirit”, same issue, styled by Sara Bruneau, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Model, Erin MacDonald]

This issue was also noteworthy for a few other things, which we wrote about on the CF in June. And thank god for Shay Mitchell, because the rest of the issue was a snooze–two editorials, both starring thin and white models.

August to me was probably the most laughable issue to be brutally honest. It didn’t have an editorial, and its cover star, blonde hair and green eye’d Dauphine McKee didn’t even get a full interview–just a paragraph about her! I don’t even know if we should count her as a cover star it was so bizarre.

That being said, at least she got a paragraph. When Grace Mahary was on the cover back in May, she didn’t get anything in terms of a cover story or interview. Was this an oversight or a coincidence? I think not. Society privileges white voices, and this discrepancy is a prime example of that.

And now comes the biggest issue for any fashion magazine, Canadian or not: The September Issue!

[Editorial Picture Credits: “New Look” in Elle Canada September 2013. Styled by Sara Bruneau, pics by Richard Bernardin. Model, Bianca (Specs) AND “Boys Club” same issue, styled by Anthony Mitropoulos, pics by Raphael Mazzucco. Model, Anaïs Pouliot (Folio Montreal) AND “What is Punk” in Elle Canada September 2013. Styled by Anthony Mitropoulos, photographs by Leda & St. Jacques. Models, Masha (Folio) and Zoe Colivas (Sutherland Models)]

Elle Canada’s September issue starred Lily Collins on the cover, and of its three editorials, only one featured a model of colour, and no plus size models. Pretty underwhelming for their biggest issue of the year, I gotta say.

Elle Canada’s October starred Katy Perry on the cover. The rest of the issue  saw a decline in diversity, not that Elle Canada’s September issue was particularly diverse in the first place.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “In the Navy” styled by Azamit, pics by Jean-Claude Lussier. Model, Liisa Winkler (Elite) AND “Secret Cabin in the Woods” styled by Fritz, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Model, Elise (Elmer Olsen) AND “Era of Chic” styled by Fritz, pics by Nelson Simoneau. Model, Zoe Colivas (Sutherland)]

There were  three editorials, none of which had a model of colour or a plus-size model. It’s a shame, because I thought the styling in these shoots was actually pretty good. I just wish they had hired models of colour to show off such great outfits.

November had Scarlett Johansson on the cover. This issue had three particularly exciting, progressive articles, which we wrote about when the issue originally came out.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Big Easy” styled by Cloe Legault, pics by Nelson Simoneau. Model, Dauphine (Elmer Olsen) AND “Cool Girl” styled by Fritz, pics by Neil Mota. Model, Ryan (Folio) AND “RED” styled by Sara Bruneau, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Model, Pamela (Montage Models)]

Despite these positive step forwards, Elle Canada took three steps back. For the second month in a row, they had three editorials, but none of them had a single model of colour or plus-sized model.

Elle Canada closed out their publishing year by having a blonde hair, light-eye’d cover star for the second month in a row–even if it is the amazing Jennifer Lawrence, it says something about diversity.

[Editorial Picture Credits: “Showgirl” styled by Sara Bruneau, pics by Jean-Claude Lussier. Model, Charlotte (Folio) AND “Belle de Jour” styled by Fritz, pics by Neil Mota. Model, Dajana (Elmer Olsen) AND “The Birds” styled by Cloe Legault, pics by Leda & St. Jacques. Model, Pamela (Montage)]

Incidentally, things rather end on a sour note for Elle Canada, at least for 2013: for the third month in a row, three editorials were printed but not a single model of colour or plus size model to be found–all three editorials featured thin, white models.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 4.09.55 PM

*Recall that neither the February nor the August issue had editorials. The May issue featured one plus size model for one page only in the spread “Graphic Lines”, and the models of colour in the May issue were in the same spread, but did not have an editorial of their own.

To recap, Elle Canada during 2013 had a total of 12 issues.  4 issues had cover stars who are women of colour. They had a total of 27 editorials printed this year, and just 2 starred models of colour! Just one editorial featured 1 plus-sized model for 1 page. And just think–for three months in a row-October, November, and December, Elle Canada had three editorials each issue, and for those three months, they did not book a single model of colour or plus-sized model.

I think the numbers speak for themselves on this one.

As Editor-in-Chief, I will continue to support Elle Canada‘s work by subscribing to their magazine, but if I were not doing this website, I gotta wonder if I would still buy or subscribe to this magazine, as I hardly see myself or my friends represented in these pages.

I do have high hopes for 2014 though–they’ve had some of the most interesting, thought-provoking and progressive articles I’ve seen in one magazine for one year, and I’d  really like to see those thoughts reflected in their editorials in the coming year.  So that’s it for Elle Canada, join me next time where I’ll take a look at Fashion‘s 2013 year.

 

 

 

 

 

*Editorials are creative undertakings, and imagine different possibilities for fashion and style. When magazines continue to hire thin, white models for their shoots, it means its because that is who they think should be wearing the clothes shown, and who they consider to be worthy of press and page space.  If you’re seeing certain bodies and faces missing from the pages of an editorial, it means the magazine producing that editorial doesn’t care about fashion and style for those people, nor can they imagine anything beyond the status quo norm of thin and white. Indeed, based on the criteria we use for Covers & Content, none of The Closet Feminist editors, including myself, are people and figures considered important to most Canadian fashion magazines as you will soon see.

** For example, you can’t immediately see someone’s sexual orientation, and a lot of people have “invisible” disabilities, meaning you cannot see them unless you get to know the person more and they share that part of their life with you. Lastly, I can assume someone’s gender identity, but you know what they say about assuming things.

Video: Butch Style x Magazines

By: Emily Yakashiro

Welcome the the second video by The Closet Feminist! Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

 

Transcript for Video

Hey folks, I’m Emily, the founder and Editor of theclosetfeminist.ca

Today I want to talk about fashion for trans-masculine women, masculine-identified women, and butch clothes for anyone who is outside the gender binary.

As you know from the last Closet Feminist video, I’m kind of obsessive when it comes to mainstream, widely available, fashion magazines. Something that I see very, very rarely are  fashion spreads or editorials that feature clothing that would be useful or appropriate to those who are interested in butch fashion.

Major fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle, Bazaar, InStyle, and Lucky, focus almost entirely on more femme looks, which is great for those of us who self-identify with that particular style, but not-so-great for folks who aren’t as they’re left with practically no inspiration from major/mainstream fashion sources.

Scan

When magazines do feature editorials that could be considered even remotely inspired by butch fashion and style, they’re variations on a theme–strong-shouldered suits, blazers, or coats in a more formal cut or style, like this one from the November 2012 issue of Elle Canada starring model Yasmin Warsame [pictured above].

It is worth noting that spreads with potentially-butch clothing are usually only offered in winter and fall seasons, leaving fans of this style with nothing seasonal to wear for spring and summer months according to what is shown in editorials.

Another thing I have noticed is that spreads featuring clothing and outfits which are passably butch is that there is at least one or two shots of something that seems rather at odds with butch style at large.

For example, overall, this spread could be considered relatively butch inspired. However, there are a few shots which show a lot of décolletage, which, last time I checked, is not exactly a cornerstone of butch dressing.

Another example of this trend is from this spread from the April 2013 issue of Elle Canada, starring model Erin Macdonald [pictured below].

Scan 5

You see these sharp suits and versions of le smoking popularized in part by icons like Marlene Dietrich, Eileen Gray, and even Frida Kahlo– all celebrities past known for their own preference for more butch-inspired outfits. This reference is even hinted at with the entirely black and white fashion photography seen in this spread.

This seems pretty good, however, we can once again see that prominent décolletage being shown as a strong feature of the styling in this editorial.

It kind of seems like there is rarely a cohesive, consistent vision shown in fashion spreads that would meet the unique needs, interests, and styles of butch-identified people. It would also seem that even as editorials approach something thoroughly recognizable as “butch,” they shy away–or rather entirely ignore this particular style of dressing.

On this note, Alyssa Garrison reminds us in an article [“Unbinding Binaries: Using Clothing to Unlock the Door of Gender Identity”] in issue 13 of WORN Fashion Journal that,

 “The fashion world purports to celebrate self-expression and individuality, yet the by-products and ideas of fashion really only exist for two kinds of people.”

-Alyssa Garrison

It’s not like there’s a lack of style inspiration when it comes to butch style. Fashion magazines of course rely heavily on celebrity culture, and if you add that into the mix, there are plenty of celebs who lean towards this style to consider for inspiration.

Stars like Patti Smith, Pink, Janelle Monae, and Chan Marshall are all known for their sartorial choices that often (if not always) represent butch fashions and tastes.

Celebrity style is important, indeed. In the most recent issue of Bitch Magazine, Keph Senett pens a short article on “The Boom in Butch Clothing” highlighting the importance of celebrity endorsements in the case of Wildfang, a new clothing store based in Portland that sells “tomboy”-style clothes.

It’s not as if a butch fashion-centered editorial is entirely impossible or beyond imagining. We see that now with all the wonderful butch fashion blogs that exist, and if you read Senett’s article, you’ll learn that business for butch fashion is booming.

Scan 1 copy

Interestingly, the best example I have seen in recent years of an editorial in a major fashion magazine featuring butch style comes from the August 2009 issue of Teen Vogue of all places [picture above].

This spread is remarkable in my opinion for a few reasons:

  1. There isn’t a power suit, blazer, or other formal clothes to be found. All the outfits shown are fun and casual, unlike the other spreads we looked at before.
  2. The outfits shown could work easily for all seasons.
  3. This spread is in a youth-oriented magazine! Where the grown-up Vogue may be stumbling, it’s younger sibling was picking up the slack back in the day.
  4. The clothes shown are all worn with flat shoes or brogues; the shots we saw earlier from the other editorials were worn with stilettos or pumps, which aren’t usually considered staples for most butch wardrobes

So to all you major magazines out there: the ground work is laid out. If you have your doubts, look to indie publications like Bitch and WORN Journal for inspiration, or even hit replay on this video. My end message is this: I dare you to leave your homophobia and transphobia behind you, and to take the plunge and try an all-butch editorial, the results could be really cool, compelling, and of course, super-stylish.

 

 

More Thoughts on Butch Fashion

“Unbinding Binaries: Using Clothing to Unlock the Door of Gender Identity” by Alyssa Garirson in Issue 13 of WORN Fashion Journal

“Suit Up: The Boom in Butch Fashion,” by Keph Senett in Bitch Summer 2013

“Fashioning an Identity,” by Zoe Whittall in Fashion September 2013

“Top 7 Style Blogs for The Aesthetically Oriented Queer” by Gabrielle on Autostraddle

Butch Fashion Blogs we <3

Qwear

Lesbian A La Mode

Esther Quek’s tumblr

 

Video: A Look at Diversity in Lucky Magazine So Far

By: Emily Yakashiro

Welcome to the first-ever video from The Closet Feminist! In this video, I take a look at all the 2013 issues of Lucky magazine so far, as a test to see just how diverse fashion magazines are. The results are a little baffling, see for yourself.

Transcript of Video

Hi folks, I’m Emily, the founder and editor of theclosetfeminist.ca

It’s now June, so we are halfway through the magazine publishing calendar. I thought it might be interesting to examine some magazines, and take a look at the diversity-or rather lack thereof-in the issues that have been published so far.

What I’m going to be looking at is the major editorial of each issue of Lucky magazine published so far this year. I’m using Lucky in particular for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to use a magazine that would be familiar to The Closet Feminist’s reading audience, which, from what I can tell, are folks from Canada and the States, and Lucky is widely available in both of these countries, in case you wanted to follow up on this project yourself.
  2. I really, really love Lucky magazine. I’ve had a subscription to it for years, so I haven’t missed an issue in a while.

Let’s get started!

tumblr_mexhd2oTz51rqbr5fo1_1280.png

Above: From the January editorial of Lucky. Image found here.

Lucky got off to a really positive start. Their first issue of 2013 featured Jennifer Hudson-a woman of colour- on the cover, which is fantastic. And the editorial? Things get even better, because they feature of model of colour in the editorial [see above]. It’s a great way to start the year and seems to show Lucky’s commitment to diversity.

The February issue was interesting to say the least. Katherine McPhee was on the cover, and the editorial? Well, to me this editorial has its ups and downs. They hired three models for this shoot, and only one of them, Kenza Fourati (the woman on the middle) is a woman of colour, having an Arab background.

This is great, but I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out a common trend I see fashion editorials that have more than one model: I have observed that, as a general trend, magazines hardly ever feature an editorial wherein an ensemble of models is composed entirely of models who represent minorities.

There seems to be this need to have at least one white model no matter what. I find this somewhat ironic, as it would seem that editors seek to somehow balance out the token minority they hire. This being said, I’d also like to point out that of these three models, none of them appear to be plus-size, which is another great opportunity for diversity which Lucky missed.

Moving along, let’s take a look at the March issue. It starred Lauren Conrad on the cover, and kept with the status quo, featuring a editorial with one model, also white and thin.

In April we saw Julie Bowen on the cover, which is kind of cool because she is in her forties, and magazine covers tend to feature younger women as an unwritten rule. Ironically, she is the oldest cover star Lucky has had so far this year, being older than the cover star of the so-called “beauty issue” coming up next month, which of course focused a lot on anti-aging products and advice.

If the April editorial seems reminiscent of the February shoot, it’s because it’s almost exactly the same thing [compare the two editorials below]. Kenza Fourati is once again the only model of colour out of three models, and once again, the other two models are thin and white.

Scan 1

Above: From the February issue of Lucky. Kenza Fourati is in the middle.

Scan 5

Above: From the April issue of Lucky. Kenza Fourati is on the left.

It is duly bizarre because the other two models, the blonde and the brunette on the left [in the picture shown in the video] are NOT the same as the February shoot which you might assume at first glance since the editorials are so incredibly similar [compare two editorials above]. In other words, Lucky went out of their way to hire an ensemble of models that they basically already used once this year.

And just like the February editorial, none of them are plus-size. The fact that Lucky has done this twice so far in 2013, casting a two very similar ensembles of models, and we’re only at April speaks volumes about the determination of this magazine to support the status quo. They had another opportunity to be especially diverse, given that they once again hired three models, yet they chose ultimately not to take it.

Moving on to the May issue, we see Drew Barrymore on the cover. As previously mentioned, this issue was considered “the beauty issue.” You can’t really see, but that’s what it says right here in the top corner [pointing to magazine cover]. Apparently, what Lucky considered beautiful is once again thin and white, because that’s the sort of model they chose for the May editorial.

So now we’re up to speed with the June/July issue, which is currently available on newsstands. And oh boy, what an interesting issue it is.

It seems really positive at first, as it features Christina Hendricks on the cover. Hendricks is very well-known not only for her amazing acting skills on shows like Mad Men, but as a role model for full-figure Hollywood icons, which as we know are relatively rare. It’s also nice to see Hendricks on the cover, because, like Julie Bowen who we saw on the cover in April, Hendricks is relatively older then other cover stars, as she is in her late thirties.

After this, things get a little weird.

Wang Xiao - Lucky Magazine, June July 2013 - 5

Above: Wang Xiao modelling for Lucky’s April editorial.

For only the second time this year, Lucky hired a model of colour to be the solo star of the major fashion spread. Remember, the last time they cast a model of colour alone for a major editorial was in January.

Hiring a model of colour in itself of course isn’t weird, at first glance it’s actually a really positive step forward.

So what is the problem then?

I say this editorial/issue is weird because it’s kind of like Lucky really, really wants you to know that they actually hired a model of colour, like it’s some groundbreaking thing that they deserve a gold star for. I say this because they mention the model’s name, Wang Xiao three times in this issue. Once in the letter from the editor, and twice in the editorial.

Wang XIao highlights

Above: Circled in red are two of the mentions of Wang Xiao’s name. The third mention, which is in the Letter from the Editor of this issue is not pictured.

This is actually very unusual for a magazine. Magazines almost never give the names of the models used, unless the model used is also the cover star, like we saw with the March 2013 issue of Flare magazine which featured Charlotte Free.

In a way, mentioning Wang Xiao’s name three times seems like they’re overcompensating for all these months they weren’t using models of colour.

SCAN0003

Above: Another look from the January 2013 editorial of Lucky.

It is also interesting to note that they didn’t name the other model of colour–the one from the January issue [pictured above]- once. This is especially concerning, because it would seem that naming a model representing a minority in the fashion world is more important than another, potentially creating a very disturbing hierarchy.

This leads me to feel that, overall, this particular issue of Lucky smacks heavily of tokenism. The anxious and repetitive naming of Wang Xiao, drawing attention to their attempt to diversify their publication, could have been avoided entirely of course, if they had just hired more models of colour, or plus-size models in the first place.

Wrapping up this conversation, I just want to say again: I do love Lucky magazine. I’ve read it for a long time, and even though it’s glaringly obvious that they seriously lack diversity, I’ll still keep subscribing to it. I’m inspired by Anita Sarkeesian, the founder of the feminist pop culture blog, Feminist Frequency who reminds us in her videos that, “it is both possible and even necessary to  simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or more pernicious aspects.”

165542399-300x429

Above: Eva Chen, the new Editor-in-Chief of Lucky

There is definitely hope though. Very recently, on June 18th, news broke that Eva Chen will be replacing Brandon Holley as the Editor-in-Chief of Lucky. Chen is the FIRST Asian-American Editor-in-Chief out of all of Conde Nast’s publications, so “yay!” for women of colour in the media, and here’s hoping that she will bring in some much-needed diversity to the pages of this particular magazine.

 

 

 

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