Vogue in politics: creating an impact through fashion

We often associate the fashion industry with superficiality, a world where everything is based on appearance and following what we are told is ‘trendy’. Indya Harvey looks at a few of the most political moments in Vogue, proving that fashion can be both profound and impactful.

The Women’s March

One of 40 images featuring in Teen Vogue’s response to Washington’s women’s march on the 22nd January of this year. An attempt to overshadow Trump’s first day as the President of the United States, the marches spread across the world and illustrated both a collective opposition to the new President and his policies as well as evidence of the perseverance of a need for female emancipation. In publishing such obvious hostility towards Trump, Vogue is publicly suggesting it holds the same view; signifying the extent of disapproval and shock towards Trump’s rule and possibly a growing freedom of expression within media outlets.

Religious Identity

In June 2017, Halima Aden became Vogue’s first hijab model to feature on the magazine’s cover. Relating to a theme of celebrating identity, the cover sparked discussion over why it had taken so long for such a cover to make an appearance and highlighted the superficial nature of Western ideas of beauty in its neglect of other cultures. Predominantly, however, Aden’s debut was widely celebrated with many congratulating the model. Conversely, although I also feel the cover should be celebrated, I find irony in its context. Why has it taken until 2017 for a Vogue cover to feature a hijab? And more so, why have we only just received a cover featuring a hijab for Vogue Arabia where one is such a prominent feature of the areas culture?

Gender Exclusivity

Stella Tennant and James Crewe were shot by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia’s ‘boy, girl, boy’ campaign in July 2016 with the aim of providing another take on the blurring of gender exclusivity that has risen as a recent topic of discussion in society today. Although only published in 2016, the issue of gender fluidity and its acceptance in society has grown immensely with a rise in the use of transgender models, (such as Topshop’s recent Ivy Park campaign), and a move towards trends celebrating a mixture of masculine and feminine traits alike.

Police Brutality

Vogue Italia touched on a very sensitive topic in this image portraying both police brutality and the inferiority of women. In this sense, the image addresses the prevalent and ongoing issues of racial discrimination from institutions such as the police force; something which has risen recently with the reportage of more and more isolated and questionable cases, as well as the issue of female emancipation, again a topic prevalent in recent news. Personally, I feel this image blurs the lines between the two topics, removing them of recognition in their own right, as both are highly important issues individually.

Hillary Clinton

Although this is a photograph taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue in December 1993, its subject, Hilary Clinton, was the first American politician to receive a public endorsement from Vogue. This not only sends a message of female emancipation through support of a potential first female US President, but again public opposition to Trump; both of which are emphasised by the fact that such an endorsement had never before been made. Vogue accompanied its endorsement with a well-rounded explanation, giving a balanced argument for its decision and being careful to recognise that neither candidate was perfect, yet one definitely brought more hope than the other.


Indya Harvey

Image: ‘All Women Project’, celebrating women’s diversity, Pinterest