While Vogue has a long history of cultural appropriation, white-washing and being generally tone-deaf, the magazine’s latest transgression is particularly egregious, given that it falls within their so-called “diversity issue.” The editorial in question features Karlie Kloss, a white model from Missouri, participating in various aspects of traditional Japanese culture while dressed as a geisha. It is… not good.
Titled “Spirited Away” (a reference to another Japanese thing white people have taken a liking to) and shot by Mikael Jansson, the editorial finds Kloss in full geisha makeup, hanging out with sumo wrestlers and serving tea.
Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, and Tilda Swinton turn to Karlie Kloss. “Your turn, girl.”
Karlie on phone: “Hello, Vogue? Make me Asian.” pic.twitter.com/zgUWIB022Q
— Ira Madison III (@ira) February 14, 2017
At this point we’re just exhausted by mainstream fashion’s utter lack of a clue. With countless incredible Japanese models to chose from (Tao Okamoto, Chiharu Okunugi, Rini Fukushi to name but a few) and plenty of similar mistakes it ought to have learned from, Vogue is all out of excuses.
Meanwhile, Kloss, ever the unoffensive all-American, offers the following apology:
— Karlie Kloss (@karliekloss) February 15, 2017
Vogue is yet to comment.