Covers & Content: July 2017

How diverse were the July 2017 issues of Canada’s top fashion magazines? We report on this every month, taking into consideration the cover star as well as the representation in the fashion editorials. Read on to find out how this month’s issues fared.

The Magazine: Elle Canada

The Cover Star: Michaela Kocianova

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: White

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: No! They had an opportunity to have some diversity and totally didn’t choose to; there was one fashion  editorial in this month’s issue and it starred two thin, white models. As such, this is a Whiteout Issue.

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


Note: this information is the same as what was reported last month

The Magazine: FASHION

The Cover Star: Heather Marks

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: White

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: This was a Whiteout Issue. This is especially disappointing as it is FASHION’s Summer Issue, covering both June and July 2017. There were two fashion editorials. The first starred one thin, white model. The second starred two thin, white models. As such, there were a lot of wasted opportunities for diversity.

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

Covers & Content Annual Review 2016, Part 2: FASHION

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 next is FASHION!

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 FASHION improved at all over the years? Check out our data from the last three years.

FASHION 2013 Annual Review

FASHION 2014 Annual Review

FASHION 2015 Annual Review

Did you miss Part 1 of our 2016 review focused on Elle Canada? Check it out here.


FASHION is such an odd magazine. It is by far and away the most popular Canadian fashion magazine, arguably featuring the more “aspirational” aspects of a traditional fashion magazine. As such, the content is usually quite dry and conservative. The reporting is a snooze, with the exception of the cover stories which are done by Elio Iannacci (whose feminist reporting and engaging interviews are a CF favourite).

This year, FASHION remained somewhat of an enigma. On the one hand, FASHION came out on top with the most issues featuring a woman of colour on the cover. On the other hand, it tied with Elle Canada for the most Whiteout Issues, which indicates the issues were either super awesome and diverse, or bizarrely whitewashed.

FASHION also stands out in 2016 for publishing two issues featuring an Asian woman on the cover (Soo Joo Park and Michelle Phan)–neither Elle Canada nor Flare managed to publish even one issue with an Asian woman on the cover, though they did publish issues with mixed race women.

That being said, FASHION is also unique in that it is the only Canadian fashion magazine this year that did not have a black woman on the cover solo. Elle Canada had Beyoncé, and Flare had Herieth Paul exclusively. Normani Kordei shared a cover with the rest of Fifth Harmony in the Summer issue of FASHION.

And now for the month-by-month breakdown!


FASHION does Winter issues, covering December/January. As such, the January issue of 2016 features the same data as their December 2015 issue. Chiara Ferragni was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of FASHION, and it starred one thin, white model. The editorial featured a racist collection, rather adding insult to injury considering this issue of FASHION was a Whiteout Issue.


Above: Natalie Dormer in the Feb 2016 issue of FASHION

The February issue was also a Whiteout Issue, starring Natalie Dormer on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, white model.


For a third month in a row, FASHION produced a Whiteout Issue. Olivia Palermo was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, white model.


Finally, FASHION showed a little bit of diversity on their pages with Soo Joo Park on the cover (image from the shoot below).

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, white model.


Olivia Munn was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, white model.


Fifth Harmony was on the cover of the Summer issue (covering June and July 2016), comprised of Dinah Jane Hansen, Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei, Camila Cabello, and Lauren Jauregui.

There was one fashion editorial this month, starring one thin, white model.


Michelle Phan was on the cover.

Above: from the August 2016 issue of FASHION

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, mixed-race model.


Karlie Kloss was the cover star of a boring Joe Fresh advertorial.

There are two fashion editorials in this issue. The first stars one thin, white model. The second stars Canadian mixed-race model Mackenzie Hamilton.


Kate Bosworth was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial this month, starring one thin, white model. This means that the October issue of FASHION was a Whiteout Issue.


Tatiana Maslany was on the cover.

Above: from FASHION November 2016

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


Above: from the FASHION Winter 2016 cover story

The December (and the January 2017 issue of FASHION) issue starred Hailee Steinfeld on the cover.

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

Lightning-Fast Forgiveness, Racism, & Dsquared2

Fashion (and really, the world in general when it comes to the wayward ways of errant men) has a tendency to sort of wrist-slap designers when they screw up, and then lavish them with praise the second they correct their course.

Take, for example, London-based and Canadian-born designers Dsquared2.

For the Fall 2015 season Dsqaured2 showed a highly-offensive collection that made waves for its extreme cultural appropriation and general racism:


Above: from the racist Fall 2015 collection of Dsquared2.

Then, they rather repeated this mistake with their Fall 2016 collection, sending models down the catwalk with “Victorian Samurai” outfits. The collection got hardly any press, good or bad. Perhaps the world was just tired of Dsquared2’s continual, lazy, racist designs.


Above: The Fall 2016 Dsquared2 collection featuring “Victorian Samurai” looks.

The tides turned for Dsquared2 with their recent Spring 2017 collection, which was praised and lauded by fashion reporters. In other words, the disgrace period for Dsquared2 was all too brief, and the fashion world quick to forgive some pretty serious offenses.


Above: Dsquared2 Spring 2017

While the collection was pretty fun (pictured above), it’s dissapointing because it proves that they can design a collection that is not racist, but they have clearly chosen not to for previous seasons. Sigh, #whiteprivelege in fashion, amiright?



BONUS: More on Dsquared2’s super-racist Fall 2015 collection

Dsquared² x First Nations Appropriation at Milan Fashion Week

Dsquared²’s Super-Racist Fall 2015 Collection Featured in Canadian Fashion Magazines

How Distasteful: The Racist Dsquared² Collection Makes Another Appearance in a Canadian Fashion Magazine

Veronique Branquinho: No Diversity, No Comment

I love her designs, but I’m not the only one who has noticed Branquinho maybe has a serious problem with hiring models of colour.

Let’s just take a look back at her last few collections, shall we?


veronique-branquinho-resort-17-01 veronique-branquinho-resort-17-02 veronique-branquinho-resort-17-03



There were 0 models of colour in her Fall 2016 runway show.


veronique-branquinho-prefall2016_01 veronique-branquinho-prefall2016_02 veronique-branquinho-prefall2016_03



For her Spring 2016 show, Branquinho had Mona Matsuoka walk the runway (not pictured above), who is half Japanese. She appeared to be the only model who was not entirely white, however.


veronique-branquinho-2016_01 veronique-branquinho-2016_02 veronique-branquinho-2016_03

The Closet Feminist noted last year that Veronique Branquinho’s Resort collection was especially lacking diversity. So, as you can see above, it’s been a full year and no change…

When Fashion Uses People of Colour as Props

Fashion ads and editorials in magazines have a long, sordid history of using people of colour as props (sometimes literally). Elle Canada‘s June issue is the latest publication to make this tasteless misstep.


The editorial, “Heat Wave” (pictured above and throughout) was styled by Juliana Schiavinatto, with photography by Max Abadian and Art Direction by Brittany Ecles. It starred model Pamela Bernier as the happy imperialist.

ElleCanada_June2016_racistspread 2

The silly thing (aside from you know, the racism), was that Bernier looked great on her own, as you can see above. With the addition of the other folks in the pictures, she looks like the white person we all know who would describe herself as “worldly,” and enthuse about the delicious “other” cuisine she got turned onto thanks to “the locals.”

ElleCanada_June2016_racistspread 1

Shamefully, Elle Canada does not name the other folks in the pictures. There is a small note at the end of the editorial thanking “Meliá Braco Village and the Jamaica Tourist Board,” but that, I’m afraid, is it.


Don’t believe that using POCs as props is a thing? Check out the list below.

W Continues Fashion’s Tradition of Using ‘Exotic’ People As Props

Fashion Discussion: Black Men as Props

One Of The Most Blatant Racist Photo Shoots We’ve Ever Seen


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