February 2nd, 2009
Black History Month, Ethnic Models
Fun Black Fashion Fact: Alek Wek on November 1997 Elle Magazine
By Claire
So it’s Black History Month!
And every day this month, The Fashion Bomb Team is going to bring you Fun Black Fashion Facts.

Today, we’re kicking off with Sudanese model Alek Wek!

cover-of-elle-magazine

Did you know that Wek was the first Black model to grace the cover of ELLE Magazine in November 1997?

Elle took a huge risk placing Wek on the cover–it’s widely believed that covers featuring women of color don’t sell. This particular issue, on the other hand, went on to sell huge numbers and solicited many reader responses like, “When I saw your recent cover featuring a proud and radiant Alek Wek, I nearly cried.Giles Bensimon, Elle’s creative director at the time said, “There are a lot of women who look like her in America, and they don’t find themselves in any magazine.” Too true!
Shout to Alek Wek and check out her line of handbags, WEK1933.

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8 comments

8 Responses to “Fun Black Fashion Fact: Alek Wek on November 1997 Elle Magazine”

  1. LoudPen says:

    Dang, I’m hurt. I mean I’m happy about the Alek Wek cover cause I think it’s gorgeous but, I mean 1997?! That was twelve years ago. It took Elle till 1997 to put a black woman on the cover? Man, and white people are claiming that we shouldn’t sing my President is Black. F*** that. They have clearing been running this ish for toooooooooo long.

  2. jeremydante says:

    this post should be amended; alek is the first AFRICAN model to grace the cover. not the first black.

  3. [...] Wek, 35, fled the south of what was then Sudan in 1991 during the civil war. She flew out of her hometown of Wau on a Hercules plane, pretending to be the daughter of a neighbour. It was the first leg of an incredible journey that saw her become the first African model on the cover of Elle magazine in 1997. [...]

  4. [...] Wek, 35, fled the south of what was then Sudan in 1991 during the civil war. She flew out of her hometown of Wau on a Hercules plane, pretending to be the daughter of a neighbour. It was the first leg of an incredible journey that led to her becoming the first African model on the cover of Elle magazine in 1997. [...]

  5. [...] Wek, 35, fled the south of what was then Sudan in 1991 during the civil war. She flew out of her hometown of Wau on a Hercules plane, pretending to be the daughter of a neighbour. It was the first leg of an incredible journey that led to her becoming the first African model on the cover of Elle magazine in 1997. [...]

  6. Lauren says:

    Who is the photography? great shot

  7. […] Remember the ground breaking cover with Alek Wek that  Lupta Nyong’o spoke about? That was Elle before it entered the African market!  We must really seek balance in the proliferation of our […]

  8. […] young model is related to South Sudanese supermodel, Alek Wek, and has modeled for: Hermès, Vivienne Westwood, Kenzo and Rihanna’s River Island line to […]

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