As earlier reported, Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani was in NYC this week for a roundtable discussion at the United Nations headquarters concerning Fashion 4 Development, a global initiative that aims to galvanize the fashion industry towards promoting sustainability and international development.
WWD and Style.com both had a chance to interview the editor/ambassador about her work with the organization in Africa and experience scouting out talent across the continent. “We met so many young people [while traveling around Africa],” she told Style.com, “some of them are very talented and some are not—not all of us could be the editor in chief of a magazine, everyone has a different story.” Sozzani is determined to tell some of these stories in the coming months, both in the Africa issue of L‘Uomo Vogue and in retail partnerships with Yoox and Saks.
And while there may be a tad bit of irony in the appointment of a woman whose magazine heralded the ‘slave earrings‘ trend to a role as a spokeswoman for Africa’s fashion industry, we are glad to see someone pushing for a proactive stance towards development. As Sozzani expressed to WWD:
“We have to see the positive. You can’t say, ‘Don’t go to Ghana because there is malaria.’ C’mon — do something. You should not give up. That’s why people have been alone for so long really because others give up.…The main problem is they can do the work but they don’t have enough work to do. Every country has a problem. Do you think Italy is having its best moment? You know what? It has not been our best moment for 15 years but we are still here and we’re doing well.”
This open-mindedness only extends so far, however. The editor has certainly not changed her position on the unsightliness of most of runway-ready menswear:
“I am not missing the men’s shows; I don’t like them at all. To see a beautiful woman walking down the runway is so different. Some men’s collection are really nice (Prada’s was amazing), but some are just ridiculous, you know?”