Anna Wintour is one of the most powerful and influential people in the fashion industry, and that might be because (believe it or not) she’s done a lot for Black people.
Noted fashion and culture writer Keli Goff compiled a list of the white people who’ve had the greatest impact on the lives of Black Americans for Loop21, and Vogue editors-in-chief Grace Mirabella and Anna Wintour sit at the top of the list. Mirabella was the first Vogue editrix to put a Black woman on the cover of the storied fashion magazine (Beverly Johnson in 1974, in case you were wondering), and Goff notes that Wintour has only built on Mirabella’s first volley of inclusion. Goff writes:
“Wintour … has since overseen a number of covers featuring a diverse array of black women, among them Oprah Winfrey and First Lady Michelle Obama. Wintour also made history by featuring black women on the cover of the magazine’s September issue, first placing supermodel Naomi Campbell on the cover in 1988 (which Wintour has admitted sparked controversy) and later placing Halle Berry on the cover in 2010. Wintour is also credited with helping to establish black editors Andre Leon Talley and Edward Enninful as two of the most influential people in an industry not known for its diversity.”
And while the industry isn’t known for being diverse, Vogue really isn’t either — even when you consider Wintour’s apparent efforts to make it that way. While we can’t discount the number of things she’s done to include Black women (and men, including Amar’e Stoudemire, President Barack Obama and LeBron James) in the pages of her magazine and on it’s staff, we feel she and other people in similar positions in fashion could be doing a whole lot more.
But, as they say, baby steps. If Mirabella is noted for one Black cover, and Wintour noted for a handful, perhaps whoever succeeds her will be able to blend women of all color into the pages of Vogue seamlessly. At least that’s what we hope for.
Check out the rest of Goff’s list here.