British Vogue Skips Models, Uses Real People in November Issue

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Real people are a hot commodity these days, which is probably a good thing, because they’re everywhere. In November’s British Vogue, the magazine chose to model clothes on real people instead of using, well, models. This is the latest in a long line of companies like J. Crew that have chosen to use real people for their fashion shows.

According to Telegraph, the issue is appropriately titled “The Real Issue,” and features professionals like charity director Brita Fernandez Schmidt, architectural historian Shumi Bose and the women behind London’s Crossrail project.

Editor Alexandra Shulman describes the reason for “The Real Issue” in an editor’s letter:

One of my hobby horses is that it is vital that a desire to look fashionable and take great pleasure in clothes should not be viewed as contradictory to working in professions that have nothing to do with fashion. Scientists, doctors, academics, teachers, politicians, accountants and others should be able to be seen to enjoy the vagaries of fashion and style. And not be thought the more frivolous for it.

Shulman has been a consistent advocate for a greater selection of sizes throughout her career. Even so, the magazine business dictates that Vogue has to sell copies, which explains why movie star Emily Blunt is still on the cover. While Blunt plays an ordinary person in her new film, and did the shoot shortly after giving birth, she is still a celebrity.

Still, Shulman must be admired for the efforts she put in to diversifying the ages and sizes being represented in “The Real Issue.” None of them made the cover, but Shulman is doing more than most to increase representation, while still selling a magazine or two.