Photographer Mario Epanya's proposal to create a Vogue Africa edition has been officially declined by Condé Nast. Epanya had been campaigning for several months and even created mock-ups of possible magazine covers, but unfortunately it was not enough to convince Condé Nast to open an African outpost. In response to this, several bloggers have commented that the decision has racist undertones. This seems like a strong accusation considering that Vogue Italia published The Black Issue in 2008 and has subsequently devoted a section of their site to black stylemakers called Vogue Black.
The decision not to greenlight Vogue Africa might have more to do with the fact that Africa is a continent rife with political strife and low consumer spending power. China, with a population greater than all of Africa, did not launch its own edition of Vogue until 2005. Although it would be wonderful to see a new edition of Vogue that focuses on Africa, we should not assume that Condé Nast is not considering this as a future possibility. Also, unless visits to Vogue Black and similar sites increase, it it is difficult to make a case for the success of a large-scale glossy devoted solely to African fashion. It is definitely time to see more diversity of not just color, but also culture in fashion magazines and as readers and creators of fashion content, we do not have to wait for Vogue Africa in order to make that a reality.
See more of the proposed Vogue Africa covers here
|All images: Mario Epanya|