Vogue’s March 2017 issue is cleverly named, “The Diversity Issue”, featuring various models of color and sizes (Ashley Graham is the only plus-size model on the cover). However, what is within the pages of this supposedly inclusive issue is troubling.
Karlie Kloss, Vogue and blatant cultural ignorance strike again. In 2013, Kloss made a public apology for wearing a white-ified version of a Native American headdress during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She acknowledged the insensitivity to a culture that has been ridiculed by white people for hundreds of years, and promised to never knowingly offend another culture ever again.
But she did. Vogue’s March 2017 issue features a spread in which Kloss is dressed like a Japanese geisha. Why, Vogue couldn’t have used an actual Japanese model, and how, Vogue, unlike it’s cultured little sister, Teen Vogue, did not recognize how offensive this shoot truly was baffles me.
With no official apology from Vogue, and from Kloss – a reiteration of her apology from 2013 posted on Instagram, it’s hard to know if Vogue has actually learned it’s lesson this time or is just riding out the hate wave.
In such a culturally sensitive time, it’s puzzling why Vogue went through with this shoot. The makeup artist, the hair stylist, the model, the photographer, the creative director, the assistants, the editors and Anna WIntour herself, didn’t see anything offensive with this shoot before they printed it?
What we, as readers of such a highly regarded fashion magazine, can take from this experience, is that, sometimes even the best of us can be ignorant. This is in no way excusing Vogue’s actions, but rather emphasizing how in a political climate that stimulates hate and fear of those unlike us, we need to reevaluate our actions before we make them and look from the perspectives of others.