ELLE Germany slammed after offensive "Black is Back" feature about models of colour
30 October 2019, 17:31 | Updated: 30 October 2019, 17:32
The magazine also confused a model included in the feature.
ELLE Germany is being called out for an offensive article in their November 2019 issue, which featured six models of colour. In the magazine, there was a feature titled "Black Is Back". Yikes.
Instagram account Diet Prada was the first to bring the issue to everyone's attention. Diet Prada shared a photo of the ELLE Germany spread to their Instagram page. The purpose of the problematic article was to highlight six influential models of colour in the industry.
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The text on the page read "SUPER GIRLS" along with a short blurb. "Beautiful, successful, committed: MODELS OF COLOR were never in demand as they are now. But these great WOMEN also inspire us off the catwalks," it read.
"Not a good look, @ellegermany. For their November 2019 issue, the presumably white-led publication declares that 'black is back,'" Diet Prada's Instagram caption said. "Ironic when they, along with much of the fashion industry, have been complicit in denying visibility to black models until relatively recently."
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Not a good look, @ellegermany . For their November 2019 issue, the presumably white-led publication declares that “black is back”. Ironic when they, along with much of the fashion industry, have been complicit in denying visibility to black models until relatively recently. Oh, and apparently they can’t actually tell models apart. In the bottom middle, a picture of @naomichinwing is used in place of @iam_janaye . And @joansmalls has been around for a minute/hasn’t gone anywhere lmao. The issue, titled “Back to Black”, also features a white model on the cover. You can’t make this stuff up! • #elle #ellemagazine #ellegermany #naomichinwing #janayefurman #models #blackmodels #modelsofcolor #runway #fashionweek #fashionmonth #pfw #nyfw #mfw #lfw #paris #london #milan #nyc #wtf #fail #magazine #print #editorial #editor #editorinchief #media #sabinenedelchev #dietprada
To make matters worse, ELLE identified one of the models as another model. In the article, a photo of Naomi Chin Wing is used, but it's actually model Janaye Furmans.
"Oh, and apparently they can’t actually tell models apart. In the bottom middle, a picture of @naomichinwing is used in place of @iam_janaye," the caption continued. "And @joansmalls has been around for a minute/hasn’t gone anywhere lmao. The issue, titled 'Back to Black', also features a white model on the cover. You can’t make this stuff up!"
Understandably, the tone-deaf feature received a lot of backlash for its message – being black is basically a trend. Many pointed out that this wouldn't have happened had the magazine actually employed black people.
The internet dragged ELLE for filth, including supermodel icon Naomi Campbell.
Nah STATE of that ELLE Germany issue, titled ‘Black is Back’ (wtf?), with a white model on the front cover (wtf?) and not matching the correct image of a black model with their name (wtf?)— scott (@scottcardwell2) October 29, 2019
Elle Germany is so gross. “Black is back” so our skin color is a trend sana ? pic.twitter.com/55VEnFNunf— MIYAKE-MUGLER (@MasaDiamond_) October 30, 2019
Just here to let you know ELLE Germany posted a headline (cover story) entitled "Black is Back." *screams* *yells* *sternly lets you know* WE ARE NOT A TREND. I'M SO ANNOYED.— Arielle (Ari) Chambers (@ariivory) October 29, 2019
Good afternoon to everyone except Nina Kraviz, Kanye West and the editorial staff at Elle Germany— ℂ𝕖𝕣𝕦𝕝𝕖𝕒𝕟 (@ceru__lean) October 30, 2019
Elle Germany’s article is a prime example of what happens when Blackness/diversity is seen as a ‘cool trend’. We’re nice for covers/articles but us in these rooms making sure things like this don’t happen?...Good luck to whoever is about to issue the standard half assed ‘apology’ pic.twitter.com/4Pcu762Uvr— Hot Girl Meg’s Knees (@gsdotco) October 30, 2019
To exoticize black women in this way is offensive and irresponsible. To suggest skin colour is a trend that can go in and out of fashion like a print or a bag is dehumanising. This approach is anti-inclusion by default. Thank you Naomi for highlighting #Iamnotatrend— Naiomi Edwards (@naiomi_edwards) October 30, 2019
ELLE Germany have now responded to the criticism on Instagram and insisted they would do better in future.
Their statement read: "In our current issue we approach the colour black from different angles. One of our focuses was to feature strong black women who work as fashion models. In doing so, we were guilty of several errors for which we sincerely apologize.
"It was wrong to use the cover line ‘Back to black' which could be misconstrued to mean that black individuals are some sort of fashion trend. This obviously was not our intention and we regret not being more sensitive to the possible misinterpretations. Misidentifying the model Naomi Chin Wing as Janaye Furman is a further error for which we apologize. We are aware of how problematic this is.
"This has definitely been a learning experience for us and, again, we deeply regret any harm or hurt we have unwittingly caused."