Blogger/stylist/former model Rosemary Kokuhilwa writes: "I think it's about time we have Vogue magazine in Africa." She's referring to images by Paris-based Cameroonian photographer Mario Epanya, which illustrate what Vogue Africa could look like. Good idea? Yes and no:
On her blog, Fashion Junkii, Kokuhilwa (who is from Tanzania) asserts that she loves the idea of having Vogue Africa represent the whole continent: "Maybe in some way this will help bring us together as one, fashionably (think Pan -Africanism)." A commenter agrees, writing: "A successful Vogue Africa would singlehandedly present Condé Nast with its biggest achievement to date, particularly in an economic environment where luxury and elite products/services are having to cater to a wider, more globally aware and dynamic market."
But some others are not convinced. "Anonymous" writes on Fashion Junkii,
Are you kidding me?? in a continent ripped with poverty, starvation, rape, abuse and a multitide of issues that we cannot fathom, we're actually rooting for a fashion magazine as a symbol of triumph over these issues? There are much more critical things to achieve than touting some fashion magazine.
And "onlysourcherry" comments on FabSugar,
Um ... while these covers are great, on my list of problems in Africa that I would like to see remedied, a lack of fashion magazines are pretty much at the bottom. Additionally, even these covers seem to cater to a western beauty standard. I'm not sure that we need to spread that to Africa.
While the African continent is home to incredibly poor countries such as Malawi, and war-torn regions like Darfur, it is also where you'll find cosmopolitan, bustling metropolises: Casablanca, Nairobi and Dakar have around 3 million people. Cairo has a population of over 6 million, as does the greater Johannesburg metropolitan area; Lagos is home to almost 8 million people.
On the one hand, acknowledging that women all over the continent are interested in fashion and beauty would be an interesting move. And as seen at Arise Africa Fashion Week, there's no shortage of talented designers on the continent, eager to showcase their unique points of view.
On the other hand: Lumping all the countries, cultures and perspectives in the African diaspora together in one Vogue — when countries like Italy, France, Germany, Russia and Spain each get their own — is potentially insulting. And even if celebrating pan-African fashion works for a fashion show, an entire magazine could be a tricky task. One we're not sure Vogue is equipped to tackle. We'll have to make do with the head-scratcher that is Vogue Black for now.
(Also, we agree with the Fashion Junkii commenter who noted, "These covers would be beautiful on American Vogue, too.")
Vogue Africa… Will There Ever Be One? [Fashion Junkii]
Vogue Africa - Will There Ever Be One? [FabSugar]
Photographer Mario Epanya Imagines Several Covers For A Fictional Vogue Africa [Fashion Bomb Daily]
Vogue Africa May 2010 Cover [High Snobette]
Mario Epanya Photography [Portfolio]
Mario Epanya [Twitter]
Vogue Black [Official Site]
[Images via Mario Epanya]