While we might have had an issue with Franca Sozzani’s “Discovered in Africa” play on stereotypes to launch her online retail shop for Africa’s top design brands, we are in agreement with the latest release of her Vogue L’Uomo issue. We believe Africans are not the only ones charged with re-branding the image of Africa. Westerners who created the stigmatized image of Africans, in the first place, should also get in the game to change the rhetoric. Vogue Italia and Sozzani have chosen to do so and we see no issue with it. Needless to say, the driving force is also the commercial aspects of “Rebranding African.” To us, that is fine. The continent of Africa and its citizens are not a charity case and neither is Vogue Italia.
Read the press release below which also features Ladybrille Woman LIRA.
***(New York, NY – May 2012) The May issue of L’Uomo Vogue is entirely dedicated to Africa, a Continent with great potentialities and a strong will to redeem itself.
What does it mean? It means that Africa is a Continent that has countless assets, unexpected possibilities and most of all is a young Continent with a strong desire to assert itself and give dignity to women and men in equal measure. A continent under construction that is constantly evolving and always trying to improve its life conditions. Africa needs to rebuild a new image, far removed from the one the media usually convey reporting on wars and famines that, although actually occurring, are not the only side to show.
L’Uomo Vogue decided to underline the positive side of this young continent from all points of view that is showing the willingness to succeed in fields such as the textile and the oil industry, from agriculture to the growing of cotton, coffee, cocoa, to tourism and cinema, as shown by Nollywood in Nigeria that produces 200 films every year. Education and health are the two main points the various governments are founding their battle on, building new schools, universities and well-equipped hospitals.
It’s a new representation of Africa – positive, creative and trusting its own assets: this is Africa evolving, that has already brought great changes.The whole issue is a string of portraits of local personalities: Presidents, First Ladies, Queens, but also artists, singers, musicians, actors, fashion designers, writers, models, always portrayed in a positive, joyful way. They have all accepted to be featured in this issue because conveying a positive image of this Continent means bringing everyone’s attention on a world that so far has been “left out”, with the exception of a few African countries that have become a tourist destination.
Conveying a new image is fundamental for Africa also to give hope to the young and to the people who are working hard on their homeland’s economic growth. “Africa does not need charity. Africa needs investment and partnership. Joining forces with civil society and private sector, including non-traditional players, like the fashion industry, has become indispensable. Sustainable development is my top priority”, stated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who appears on the cover. Other spotlights include multi-platinum award winning South African vocalist Lira who has already achieved mass success in her homeland and is ready to be introduced to the international market.
L’Uomo Vogue‘s Africa issue comes at a time when more and more people, the fashion industry included, are looking to the continent as a fresh source of inspiration and innovation. Fashionista contributor and founder of Africa Style Daily Zandile Blay said. “From fashion to film to politics, the continent is in the midst of a total makeover so Franca Sozzani and L’Uomo Vogue are right to document it.” This new issue also solidifies Sozzani as an editor who is passionate about promoting diversity in fashion – the same woman behind the groundbreaking all black Vogue Italia back in 2008.
Pick it up on newstands today!