Bela Hadid on Vogue Arabia’s Cover, Is it Ok?

Bella Hadid appearance on Vogue Arabia‘s September issue brought controversy on social media.

Source: Refinery 29

Writer: Landon Peoples

Vogue Arabia decided to put yet another Hadid on its upcoming issue. The Muslim model, with her half Palestinian and half American descent, wears a bevy of high fashion modest look of Fendi created by Karl Lagerfeld.

September is an important month in the fashion industry. All four high-profiled fashion weeks in New York, Milan, Paris and London happen during the first month of Autumn. Fashion magazines’ September issue is usually massive due to endless photos of models, actresses and activists in their signature clothes. Yet, to post Bela Hadid’s photo on the cover of Vogue Arabia’s September issue has stirred controversy on social media, especially Instagram.

The comments on the four images posted on Instagram were mixed. Perhaps, the most heartfelt, and very long sentiment came from a commentator, according to Refinary 29.

“This is really bad. I was hopeful with the change in Editor in Chief but I’m disappointed that for this monumentally important and defining September issue, Vogue Arabia has decided to put yet another Hadid on the cover — it’s like their half Palestinian heritage and American supermodel status makes them the only worthy Arab models.. AND it’s shot by Karl Lagerfeld? Why? There is no lack of competent and able Arab fashion photographers that should have been given this opportunity (Toufic Araman comes to mind.).”

They continued: “I grew up very excited about a Vogue Arabia and have been fairly disappointed with its direction since it was conceived. The MENA region is incredibly interesting and complex, and Vogue Arabia constantly misrepresenting it is disheartening. I understand that many international Vogue’s outsource their shoots and use photographers from all over the world but Vogue Arabia should live up to its responsibility as a leading fashion powerhouse in arguably the most under represented region in Fashion. It should be a game changer; creating editorials that push to break conventions and misconceptions about Arabs. It should represent the local industry on its covers and provide a MUCH needed boost to Arabic creatives. Instead, it just mimics a basic Vogue algorithm without appropriate thought to its context. What even sets this Vogue apart? Nothing… And what does Bella Hadid shot by Karl Lagerfeld in Fendi on the cover of Vogue Arabia say? #globalization #misrepresentation#whitewashing #lackofsocialresponsibility.” (Refinery 29)

In defense to his editorial decision, Manual Arnant, editor-in-chief for Vogue Arabia, told the New York Times that “We constantly look for people and content that will resonate with our core readers. That said, it is also about finding a balance,” he explained. “The Arab world is not a ghetto. It is a highly informed, international and cultured region where global stars like the Hadids have a cult following. Karl Lagerfeld is a legendary figure for fashion fans in the Middle East, too. We champion what goes on inside our borders, but our mission as a magazine is to cover what goes on outside them as well. That is real diversity.”

In its short existence, Vogue Arabia has done a good job in diversifying its cover with models such as hijab-wearing Halima Aden, Egyptian-Moroccan model Iman Hamaan, Indian model Pooja Mor, or Black British model Jourdan Dunn, according to Refinery 29. All these women come from different geographical and cultural background by holding a strong sense of their heritage.

With Bela Hadid on its cover, Vogue Arabia’s September issue is going to bring even more controversy. We hold nothing against Hadid sisters. We just want to see the magazine diversify its editorial to shine light on the most under-represented fashion platform.

Read the full story @ Refinery 29