Off to the cover: Who caused a stir in front of Greta Thunberg on the Vogue cover
Greta Thunberg models for Scandinavian Vogue. That sounds much more scandalous than it is. Because “Vogue” needs Greta more than the other way around.
Was it coincidence or fate? On that day, when the newly published World Climate Report warned more urgently than ever of the dramatic consequences of climate change, the young woman who has been doing this for years sits in an oversized trench coat on a meadow and strokes a horse. Just as if at least on this front page everything was in perfect order.
In other pictures in the magazine, Greta Thunberg presents even more fashion: knitted sweaters, cardigans, dramatic coat dresses. This environmental activist, who usually wears raincoats and calls a sour-serious face her trademark, has made it onto the cover of the most influential and largest fashion magazine in the world. The “Vogue”, even if only the Scandinavian edition.
News from fashion and society for high society
“What’s the point of Greta?” one might ask. “Vogue” is one of the most powerful PR bodies in the fashion industry. Founded in 1892 as a weekly journal for “News from Fashion and Society” and as a reflection area for the way of life of American high society.
To this day, it is the magazine that, with its 26 national editions worldwide, determines what is fashionably trendy and what belongs in the used clothing collection. Financed by the largest luxury fashion houses, which book pages of advertising in the magazine, which are often hardly distinguishable from the editorial content.
Greta rails against the fashion industry in a fashion magazine financed by the same company
Vogue is part of the problem that the 18-year-old Swede is fighting so hard against. Consumption, waste, an exploitative production cycle for people and the environment. In the interview for the photo shoot, she says that she hasn’t bought any clothes for years, not even second hand. She borrows clothes from her friends.
And on her Instagram post with the current cover, she writes: “The fashion industry contributes significantly to the climate and environmental emergency, not to mention the impact on the countless workers and communities that are exploited worldwide so that some can enjoy fast fashion, which many consider disposable.”
Of course, the clothes in which Greta poses come from sustainable production. Of course, under her Instagram post, the first fans are already asking which label that cardigan is from.
Poet, activists, politicians instead of models on the cover
Fashion arouses desires, this is how the principle works, this is how “Vogue” works. At least so far. Because right now it looks like “Vogue” needs Greta more than the other way around.
The magazine has been struggling for meaning for years and has long since realized that you do not win new readers with revealing shootings and expensive models in even more expensive dresses alone. So women who also have something to say are diligently wrapped in the expensive fabrics of the advertisements.
In May 2021, Amanda Gorman became the first poet ever to pose as a model on the US cover. The 23-year-old has been world famous since her speech at Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights activist Malala Yousafzai also received her own cover story in the British edition in June this year
Actress and feminist Emma Watson advertised “thoughtful fashion” on the front page a few years ago. And when Meghan Markle was still a “royal highness”, she designed an entire issue of British Vogue with women who make the world a better place.
Among them the boxer Ramla Ali or the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern – of course Greta Thunberg was also on the cover.
Also, for a First Lady in the USA, at least one photo series in US Vogue has long been part of the standard program. It was Jill Biden’s turn in June. Michele Obama was photographed several times, Melanie Trump, on the other hand, predestined as a former model, was ignored.
But the cover with the first US Vice President Kamala Harris made waves. Not because she is a high-ranking politician, but because she was photographed in Converse sneakers and in a rather wrinkled suit, which was perceived as too unworthy for her office.
Whereby one has to write rather of well-dosed Skandälchen. “Vogue” has been producing these very skilfully with its cover pages for years. Most recently, for example, with the singer Billie Eilish, who showed herself exclusively for the US edition in a provocative corsage and a new feminine look. The printed title page works perfectly as a big stage even in times of 88.8 million Instagram followers.
Before that, it was the first Indian woman (2000), the first Muslim woman, the first transsexual (2020), the first cover by a black photographer (2018) or the oldest woman (Judi Dench at the age of 85) with whom the magazine achieved its well-dosed attention.
All these premieres only shamefully show how white, young and standardized beautiful the “Vogue” covers in the USA and Europe were for decades. The fact that the singer Harry Styles in a lace dress was the first man to claim the title page alone was almost no longer noticeable in 2020.