U.K. model Jourdan Dunn as shot by Patrick Demarchelier finally has landed British Vogue‘s cover for February, a placement widely viewed within the industry as very long overdue.
Dunn is the first black model to be featured on the magazine’s cover since Naomi Campbell in August 2002. Compare that with Kate Moss, who has landed the British Vogue cover 36 times over the course of her career, including the recent December 2014 issue.
For some perspective for those who are not familiar with Dunn, she is hardly new on the scene. She began walking runways for major names in 2007 and this year the London-born Dunn was included for the first time on Forbes‘ list of highest paid models, with estimates she pulled in $4 million in earnings. Recent jobs include campaigns with Maybelline, Burberry, Express, H&M, Topshop and Target. She also has a YouTube cooking series titled “Well Dunn.”
British Vogue isn’t alone in its practice of shunning black models. According to the FashionSpot, Harper’s Bazaar U.S. and U.K., Vogue Netherlands, Vogue Paris, Vogue Russia, Vogue Ukraine, Teen Vogue, Numéro, LOVE and Porter all failed to issue a single cover in 2014 featuring a black model.
Print magazines are often viewed as in decline because of online competition and this probably accounts for the majority of their drop offs in subscribers. However, for years the major ones have held tight to antiquated beauty standards formulaic editorials that have left their pages feeling stale and old fashioned. It also speaks to a conservative posture that is reflected in their slowness to adapt to online forums.
As such, while it’s great British Vogue finally has come around on Dunn, this could really be a case where it’s too little too late.