2014 has come to a close, so it’s time to look back on every issue printed this year by Canada’s three top fashion magazines: Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, to see how diverse they were overall and compared to last year.
For a review of this project, please check out the FAQ page here.
Unlike its competitor, Elle Canada, Fashion, Canada’s top fashion magazine (seriously–Fashion has six times the Twitter followers than Elle Canada or Flare does) actually managed to have a cover star of colour this year–Zoe Saldana starred on the cover and got a proper cover story for their August issue. This is actually one less than what they had last year, so a bit of a step back. That being said, at least Fashion didn’t do a yellow-face spread this year!
Fashion never puts out an individual January issue, instead they combine their December and January issues together. As such, the stats for their Winter issue, comprising December 2013 and January 2014 will sound familiar. It’s a Whiteout Issue, with Courtney Love on the cover, and two editorials, both starring thin, white models.
February was a Whiteout Issue, with two editorials starring thin, white models and Lady Gaga on the cover.
Above: Mackenzie Hamilton representing in the March issue of Fashion
The March issue starred Canadian actress (and out-loud-and-proud feminist!) Jessica Paré. This issue had two editorials. The first was status quo, the second starred mixed-race model Mackenzie Hamilton.
Above: Told ya so!
The April issue had two editorials. The first starred one thin, black model, and a white male model in the nude. So that was mildly entertaining. The second editorial starred one thin, white model. Cobie Smulders was on the cover.
Above: Another image from the same April editorial–this one’s a little questionable, hmm?
A crying shame the May issue was a Whiteout Issue, because it was really good! Teen heroine/feminist Lorde was on the cover, and there were two editorials. Both were status quo, except the first starred Linda Rodin who is in her sixties. While Rodin may be much older than the models we usually see, its important to remember that she is still both thin and white.
Above: Linda Rodin models for the May issue of Fashion
Elsewhere the May issue shines for its reporting on fashion for women who are physically dis/abled. The Teen Titans special, focusing on young women making a difference is also an excellent read.
Fashion combines its June and July issues into a “Summer” issue. Too bad this Whiteout Issue was on the stands for two months being so woefully status quo, with Elle Fanning on the cover and one editorial starring one thin, white model.
It wasn’t until August that Fashion finally decided to put a woman of colour on their cover, and that woman is Zoe Saldana.
Above and below: No, it’s not my typically-lazy scanning practices, the models’ faces are just cut off in the pictures
Saldana’s presence seemed to inspire more diversity, as there were two editorials. The first was a little tricky–the models were unnamed in the magazine, and for the most part their faces were cut off in the editorial except for two occasions where you can see one thin, black model, and one thin, white model. There seems to be other models involved, but as you can see from the scan above its a little hard to tell.
Above: It’s hard to tell if this editorial was a Token Diversity Spread, but we’ll give Fashion the benefit of the doubt and say no, its not.
The second editorial starred two models, both of them thin and white.
The September issue was a Whiteout Issue, and its pretty transparent that Fashion didn’t want to have another cover star of colour because Lana Del Rey was on the cover, and she was on Fashion’s cover in the Summer issue of 2013 as well–not that long at all between covers on the same magazine.
The rest of the issue was thin on inspiration–just one editorial (for a September issue, no less!), starring one thin, white model.
Fashion‘s October issue was particularly laughable. It was a Whiteout Issue, with Blake Lively on the cover and two editorials, both starring one thin, white model each.
Above: A scan of the Stella Jean article in Fashion’s October issue, which should have been the cover story in my opinion.
Lively’s “cover story” was particularly damning for Fashion because, like the September issue, it shows the lengths to which a magazine will go to to avoid hiring a cover star of colour. To wit:
1. Lively’s cover story is unusually short for Fashion, which generally has the longest pieces of the three major Canadian fashion magazines, and Lively’s story is a page.
2. There are no unique pictures of her in it, just a collage of existing photos.
3. The beginning of the interview reveals that the reporter literally had very little time with her, it seems like they spoke with her for a 15-minute window amidst a crowd of other people.
4. The article doesn’t actually have Lively’s voice in it much at all–it’s reads like a short bio of her
Above: Also of note, Fashion did this editorial x Cirque Du Soleil spread, but all I could think of was this article…
Bottom line, Fashion threw together this scanty cover story rather than, like, go out and find another celebrity to interview. It’s a crying shame they will go to these lengths to make an entire cover story out of nothing at all for a celebrity with blonde hair and blue eyes rather than pick up phone and book someone else. Interestingly, the October issue features an interview with Stella Jean, a supremely-talented fashion designer who always comes across as very well-spoken, engaging, and articulate. Why didn’t they just give her the cover instead? Probably cuz racism.
November saw to another Whiteout Issue for Fashion. Taylor Swift was on the cover, and there were two status quo editorials–yawn. The only saving grace of this issue is that they did an Oscar special and talked to a bunch of cool feminist actresses like Keira Knightley, Julianne Moore, and Felicity Jones.
Fashion finished their year how they started it–with a Whiteout Issue. As this “Winter” issue comprises both the December 2014 issue and January 2015 issue, it means that Fashion started 2015 with a Whiteout Issue, too. Evangeline Lilly is on the cover, and there is one editorial starring one thin, white model. All’s status quo that ends status quo, it seems.
Above is a table of how each 2014 issue of Fashion fared in terms of diversity this past year.
Fashion put out eleven issues this year, though only one featured a cover star of colour.
Of these eleven issues, eight of them were Whiteout Issues.
Fashion put out 18 fashion editorials in 2014. There wasn’t a ‘plus’ size model any where in sight this year for Fashion. Of these 18, 3 editorials starred models of colour. August might have had a Token Diversity Spread, but as we can’t see all of the models’ faces, we’ll give Fashion the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s not a Token Diversity Spread.
Overall, Fashion‘s diversity stats are definitely lower than last year–In 2013, Fashion had two cover stars of colour, and 5 editorials featured models of colour. Let’s see if they can turn it around for 2015.