Covers & Content Annual Review 2016, Part 1: Elle Canada

The 2016 publishing year is over for our three favourite Canadian fashion magazines, so it’s time to look back on every issue printed this year by Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, to see how diverse they were overall compared to last year. Up first is Elle Canada!

For a review of the Covers & Content project, please check out the FAQ page here.

Closet Feminist 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.

Has Elle Canada improved at all? Check out our data from the last three years.

Elle Canada 2013 Annual Review

Elle Canada 2014 Annual Review

Elle Canada 2015 Annual Review

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Elle Canada has made some steady improvements since last year. In 2016, they had four cover stars of colour–last year, they had none. Diversity within the pages has also improved. This year, Elle Canada had four Whiteout Issues, and last year, they had five.

Another big win for this magazine–this year, Elle Canada was the only magazine of the three studied here to do a fashion editorial featuring a plus size model. That would be their October issue starring Ashley Graham.

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And now the month-by-month breakdown.

JANUARY

The one and only fashion editorial in this month’s issue starred cover star Kate Bock, a thin, white model, which means that this month was a Whiteout Issue.

FEBRUARY

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Rita Ora was on the cover. There was one fashion editorial this month and it starred mixed-race model Mackenzie Hamilton.

MARCH 

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There were three cover stars for this issue: Lilly Singh, Ebony Oshunrinde (Wondagirl), and Maria Qamar.

Despite the diversity of the cover, there were two fashion editorials this month, and both starred thin, white models.

APRIL

The April issue of Elle Canda was a Whiteout Issue. Iggy Azalea was on the cover. There were two fashion editorials this month, both starring one thin, white model each.

MAY

Beyoncé was on the cover.

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There were two fashion editorials in this issue. The first starred two thin, white models. The second starred one thin, white model.

JUNE

Elizabeth Olsen was on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. The first starred on thin model of colour. The second editorial was a particularly offensive editorial starring one thin, white model.

JULY

Amanda Seyfried was on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. the first starred one thin, white model. The second starred a thin model of colour.

AUGUST

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Charlize Theron was on the cover.

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There was one fashion editorial, starring an ensemble of five models. Two of the models were women of colour.

SEPTEMBER

Demi Lovato was on the cover.

There are two fashion editorials in this issue. Both star thin, white models.

OCTOBER

ellecanada_ashleygraham_october

Ashley Graham was on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. One starred a thin, white model, and the other starred one thin, Latina model.

NOVEMBER 

Dakota Fanning was on the cover.

The November 2016 issue was a Whiteout Issue, as there were two fashion editorials in this issue, both starring thin, white models.

DECEMBER

Miranda Kerr was on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials this month. One starred one thin, Latina model. The other starred one thin, white model

Covers & Content: April 2016

How did major Canadian fashion magazines stack up this month in terms of diversity? Read on to find out.

fashion-magazine-april-2016-cover-soo-joo-park-01-800x1092

The Cover Star: Soo Joo Park

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: Asian. Side note–I’m pretty sure this cover is the first and only Canadian fashion magazine cover of the last three years to star an East Asian women exclusively on the cover.

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: There was one fashion editorial this month starring one thin, white model.

Does the magazine appear to feature any plus-size models in the editorials?: No

 

Iggy-Azalea-ELLE-Canada-April-2016-Cover-Photoshoot01

The Cover Star: Iggy Azalea

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: White. Side note–the Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks feud is infamous, but don’t you find it….interesting…that Iggy Azalea is the only one who ever gets magazine covers? Its rather a metacommentary about race, racism, and the publishing industry.

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: There were two fashion editorials this month, both starring one thin, white model each. This means that the April issue of Elle Canada was a Whiteout Issue.

Does the magazine appear to feature any plus-size models in the editorials?: No

 

AprilCoverFlare 2016

The Cover Star: Ania Boniecka, Sonya Esman, Alanna Durkovich, Kayla Seah, and Dajana Rads

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: There were 5 women on the cover (which, lets face it, was barely a cover so much as it was an embarrassing Joe Fresh ad like they did for their September 2015 issue), but the majority of them were white. Too bad Flare couldn’t manage to get more diversity on their cover like Elle Canada did last month.

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: There was one fashion editorial this month, starring one thin, white model. It was nice, however, that they identified the model, Carly Moore, up front. Most magazines don’t do that.

Does the magazine appear to feature any plus-size models in the editorials?: No

Covers & Content: December 2015

Read on to find out how the diversity of Canada’s top three fashion magazines stacked up this month.

ElleCanada_December2015_Cover_KylieJenner

The Magazine: Elle Canada

The Cover Star: Kylie Jenner

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: Mixed race/white

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: There were two fashion editorials in the Dec. issue of Elle Canada, and both starred thin, white models.

Does the magazine appear to feature any plus-size models in the editorials?: No

Zendaya_Flare_Dec2015

The Magazine: Flare

The Cover Star: Zendaya

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: Black/mixed race

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: There was one fashion editorial in the December 2015 issue of Flare. It starred one, thin white model. If you count the Chanel-exclusive advertorial also in this issue, then there were two editorials, the second starred one thin, Asian model.

Does the magazine appear to feature any plus-size models in the editorials?: No

chiara-ferragni-winter-2016-cover-800x1092

The Magazine: FASHION

The Cover Star: Chiara Ferragni

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: White

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: There was one fashion editorial this month and it starred on thin, white model, making this issue of FASHION a Whiteout Issue

Does the magazine appear to feature any plus-size models in the editorials?: No

Excerpt: Laverne Cox on Femme Aesthetics in BUST

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Above: Laverne Cox. Photography by Danielle Levitt in BUST June/July 2015

The women [Cox and bell hooks] agree on much, but hooks called into question Cox’s presentation of femininity–how her long blond wigs, dresses, and traditional feminine beauty embody what some feminist women have attempted to reject or avoid. Onstage, Cox responded in part, “If I’m embracing a patriarchal gaze with this presentation, it’s the way that I’ve found something that feels empowering…I’ve never been interested in being invisible and erased.”

Cox, who remains in touch with hooks, tells me “everybody” asks her about that exchange. I ask her if it’s insulting to suggest that her high-femme presentation is, in fact, a capitulation to the patriarchy rather than an empowered choice, and she responds carefully. “What bell hooks would say to that is that we make choices-and this is me being a huge fan of bell hooks-but there’s something almost binary that suggests either you are moving against cis-normative, hetero-normative, imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, or you’re complicit with it. That kind of binary is really, deeply problematic. I think it’s more complicated. I’ve gone through all sorts of aesthetic phases. I had a shaved head in college,. I wore makeup and I was gender-nonconformist. I also had box braids and a mohawk in college and a little bit after. So I’ve gone through all these different phases aesthetically. I love where I’m at now. I feel like I’ve evolved into being more myself.” But, she adds, “I think at the end of the day, I’m very much working within the system.”

-from “She’s All That” by Sara Benincasa in BUST June/July 2015

Fashion’s Best Feminist Ally: Zac Posen

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Above: Zac Posen accompanies Naomi Campell, who closed his Fall RTW 2015 show.

If ever fashion’s feminists had an ally, it would definitely be Zac Posen.

Why, might you ask, does this particular designer deserve this title?

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Above: Zac Posen Fall 2015

Posen’s runway shows and lookbooks consistently feature more models of colour than his other New York design peers.

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Above: Zac Posen Spring 2015

He very frequently collaborates, works with, and otherwise supports of Canadian model and activist Coco Rocha, whose own work is no doubt feminist. Typically speaking, if you run with feminists, you’re a feminist yourself.

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Above: Zac Posen Fall 2015

Posen sought to make queer-friendly and tomboy looks accessible to the mainstream with his 2010 Target collaboration. This is a pretty notable action from a major designer, especially considering fashion has a bad habit of turning a blind eye to folks who prefer more butch and androgynous outfits.

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Above: Zac Posen Pre-Fall 2015

Posen is further known for embracing ‘plus’ size design, even tackling the tricky world of wedding dresses.

We’re not the only ones noting Posen’s efforts–Refinery29 has named him the Patron Saint of Model Diversity, and the fashion activist Bethann Hardison has applauded his efforts for years.

ZacPosen_Spring2015_01Above: Zac Posen Spring 2015

Here at The Closet Feminist, we highlight female designers as much as possible, and definitely consider Posen’s work a beautiful commitment to women as well. Three cheers for fashion’s most valuable ally!

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Above: Zac Posen Spring 2015

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