The phrase “100 covers, 100 people, 100 stories” is scrawled in different corners of each rendition of Vogue Italia’s September issue, which hits newsstands today. The Latines across different covers convey the significance of representation and impetus for change in a problematic industry. The sparse, stirring 100 portraits feature folks in Prada looks styled by i-D’s Fashion Director Carlos Nazario and individually photographed by Mark Borthwick.
“Each of [the covers] is dedicated to an individual protagonist,” Editor-in-Chief Emanuele Farneti wrote in his letter from the editor. “It is the portrait of a community that, having waited diligently, now finds itself making a fresh start.”
The project creates a deliberately utopian world by placing individuals who might not cross paths on the same stage. A portrait of Nazario’s grandmother—an “ordinary woman,” and many other new faces—on the same platform as supermodel Paloma Elsesser, for example, is exhilarating in its originality. Cali-born artist and designer Carolina Sarria calls it “an incredible portfolio of intelligent, creative, and talented humans!”
Many rightfully approach initiatives that tout diversity with a healthy dose of skepticism given fashion’s racist exploitation of POC garment workers, unrealistic and ableist beauty standards, and treatment of folks who aren’t skinny, 6’2” and white, as a passing fad. We must hold the fashion world accountable to ensure that representation isn’t merely a trend, but seeing Latines celebrate their historic covers was heartening. Up-and-coming model and trans activist Cici Tamiz was the third Mexicana featured on Vogue Italia’s cover, and Dominican flag emojis dominate the comments beneath the portrait of model and Afro-Latina activist Lineisy Montero.
One constant across each cover is the word “HOPE” beneath the Vogue Italia logo. In Instagram video portraits, cover stars were asked about their life stories and their aspirations. It girl Afro-Dominicana Hiandra Martinez said, “In the future, I want a company, I want a big house in the Dominican Republic.” Meanwhile, Pose star Indya Moore reflected on their upbringing saying “I didn’t really have the space to dream much.”
This moving group of narratives given equal importance on distinct covers offers hope that the fashion world may be evolving.