Words by Georgie Blank
#VogueChallenge became a viral social media challenge in June, a challenge that involved people mocking up their own Vogue covers. The challenge was initially started by Salma Noor, an Olso based student who started, in solidarity, with the Black Lives Matter Movement (see her cover below). At the commencement of writing this feature, the Vogue challenge has had over 306k posts on Instagram and TikTok, as well as a total of 869.2M views. All around the world people of all different ages, races, ethnicity, sexuality, culture, genders, religions and sizes have participated in the challenge, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
Image Credit L-R: Angelique Culvin, Kylee Fleek, Shanice Mwathi
The challenge is a powerful visual call to action the need for the fashion industry to include EVERYONE, both in front of and behind the scenes.
In an interview with Seth Myers activist and disability advocate, Sinéad Burke who was born with achondroplasia (a form of dwarfism) gave the fundamental reason why fashion needs to include everyone. “I always understood the power of fashion. It’s the one industry that we each legally have to interact with. If you and I leave here today and don’t eat or don’t pray or don’t play sport, we’ll be fine. But if we leave here today naked… The police would be involved. If fashion took a step forward, particularly around disability and activism, every other industry would follow because it shapes politics, legislation, culture, sport… there’s no other industry that tangible connects everything together.”
If fashion is the one industry that we all legally have to participate in, then it should reflect everyone, and the voices of everyone should be heard behind the scenes as well.
It is unfortunate that people must manifest seeing themselves being represented, when it should be ‘a given’. I hope to see the #VogueChallenge move beyond a fun internet challenge, but for it to lead to real change within the industry. Representation needs to become the normal. Our society is full of beautiful people who should be seen and heard. Fashion is a powerful industry and it can influence other industries to do better as well. Let’s not have the #Voguechallenge be another internet challenge that is forgotten about , rather it be a force of change for it to become a reality not a dream.