July 19th, 2010
Fashion News
Did Conde Nast Reject Vogue Africa?
By Claire

Earlier this year, photographer and makeup artist Mario Epanya imagined several covers for what would be a future African edition of Vogue. Though there’s a Vogue Nippon, Vogue India, and even a Vogue Australia, there isn’t a Vogue Africa–and Mario was dedicated to changing that.

The last we talked to him, he was pursuing ways to purchase the license to Vogue Africa from Conde Nast International.

Imagine our disappointment when Mario posted the following message on Vogue Africa’s facebook page this past Friday: “DEAR ALL, this is the last cover of Vogue Africa, Condé Nast said no for (a) license. Thank you for all your support.  It’s a beginning of something.”

I had to call Mario up to clarify.

Mario, who is based in Paris, said, “I have a friend who is friends with the head of Conde Nast France.

“…About a month ago I sent the director of Conde Nast France a message, via my friend, asking how I would go about getting a license for Vogue Africa. He replied that no, it would not be possible to do the project.”

He continued, “It’s ok. Now I feel more free to work on my own projects and concentrate on good, original ideas.”


It was my understanding that Conde Nast France is itself a license of Conde Nast International, the originator and creator of the Vogue brand. Does Conde Nast France have the authority to reject Vogue Africa? And shouldn’t Vogue Africa have been discussed in a proper business meeting instead of via e-mails shuttled between friends?

It sounds to me like the idea hasn’t been given the push it deserves in front of the right people. But maybe people really don’t want a Vogue Africa.

Or do they?

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46 Responses to “Did Conde Nast Reject Vogue Africa?”

  1. Martha says:

    A vogue Africa would be amazing! It could be the start of something very big. It’s heartbreaking that Conde Nast rejected the idea. All of the cover shots are so beautiful, I think they are looking much better than some of the vogue’s i’ve seen recently. I also agree, I think this should have been discussed with Conde Nast international in a business meeting.

  2. Marie says:

    Well the way he handle it is VERY african and doesn’t surprise me a bit…In Africa LOTS of things are handled this way…you can get a deal or something done just by friends who have connections or over a phonecall!! Once again we’re too lazy to get our arses out there…this is why pretty much NOTHING is done correctly in Africa!!
    It saddens me to see that je’s giving up so easily..

  3. Daphne says:

    We need our own publication instead of crying about how Vogue won’t let us in the clubhouse.

  4. lola says:

    I didn’t even know there was a African edition of Vogue! I understand that phone calls to connected people may be the way he usually does business, but this is a case that warrants a proper sit-down meeting with the people in charge. I would imagine if he was able to publish so many covers Conde Nast isn’t opposed to Vogue Africa because they are very protective of their brand and would have shut it down otherwise. And don’t forget about Vogue Black..

  5. chido says:

    this is such a sham, i really second your idea that this should have been properly discussed in a proper business meeting format, perhaps with a little more pressure things may have been different! btw fashion bomb iv tried to email you but my browser is weird wont let me so if there is any way of having your email add that would be great, because im a young aspiring designer who has just moved to paris from UK and I LOVE YOUR BLOGG!

  6. Chris says:

    I’m not exactly where I want to be in life, but in my short experience on this earth, Biggie’s famous line rings true, ” Everything you get you gotta work HARD for it.” Sure, you can create a few covers then see if your friend will do you a favor, but that simply isn’t enough. You can’t be lazy in pursuing your dream. Did he send a well formed letter to the head of Conde Nast? Did he research Venture Capitalists or someone who can help fund his project?
    I’m sure he didn’t. And not saying he’s a bad person, but noone’s just going to give you the green light to a new, revolutionary venture without some struggle. For me, if I hear no, I just ask someone else. I guess noone is really into working hard for their dreams…

  7. Claire says:

    @ Chido
    Awww, thanks!
    E-mail me at thefashionbomb@gmail.com. Will do my best to respond.

  8. Danielle says:

    Yes, this definitely should have been properly discussed in a business meeting complete with advertising/marketing proposals, subscription estimates, and projected profits. As beautiful as the covers are, magazines are all about advertising profits. Speak money to the Conde Nast head honchos and you might get a seat at the second meeting.

    A shame because I would have loved to have added this to my monthly international mag rotation.

  9. Dari says:

    I think more than creating covers, which are absolutely beautiful, he needs to create or have someone create the copy for Vogue Africa. What language would it be in? English? Where would it be distributed? Those are questions I ask myself each time I think about this project.

    Yes, the covers are much more beautiful than anything I’ve seen out of Vogue in a long time. But this deserves more than a passing of information. This deserves a real pitch in a board room and I hope he is truly prepared for that.

  10. esme says:

    i agree with danielle, this should have been proposed in a proper business meeting with the appropriate research material to convince conde nast that this would be a profitable business venture. somehow as racist as vogue can be, i do think they have an interest in demographics outside of the white, affluent, and thin. i think they showed this by introducing vogue black and vogue curvy. they would need to be shown how appealing to the black demographic would work in a magazine format. i think someone, like a business advisor, should work with mario epanya to show him how it could be done. i don’t think he should give up.

  11. Kayle says:

    Vogue Africa should be pursued as there’s a strong market and interest in beauty from the continent. I’ll let it slide for now that we even have to settle for wanting a Vogue for the whole continent, but baby steps, non?

  12. Porsche says:

    Africa is a CONTINENT. It does not fit with the franchise (ie. Vogue France, Vogue England, Vogue America) it is not Vogue North America and Vogue Europe.

    Africa diferentiates depending on the region; perhaps focusing on a specific country IN AFRICA would be a better approach. Moreover the country chosen should be somewhat economically prosperous to create a demand for a fashion magazine.

  13. Valentine says:

    They should have ask Vogue international… The french institustions whatever they’d like us to think are a bunch of retro minded racist and I’m not surprised at all that they didn’t go for the idea… Remember when YSL had to threat to withdraw his adds from Vogue France to get them to put Naomi Campbell on the covers…
    Nothing has change !

  14. shawanngoddess says:

    the covers are amazing, start your own and we will support it!

  15. R.Scholar says:

    @ Porsche- Great point.
    I agree w/ you, Claire that it should’ve been properly discussed non via email. It’s like it wasn’t even seriously taken into consideration.
    It would be really nice to see a VOGUE Ghana, VOGUE Kenya or VOGUE Ethiopia… I’d have myself one of those expensive subscriptions.

  16. WendyB says:

    Totally agree with Porsche. I laughed out loud at Vogue Africa. What next? Vogue Europe? Vogue Asia? Vogue-All-Continents? All the Vogues are country-specific. And of course there’s the lack of professionalism and effort, as other commenters have pointed out. Just because some people nowadays hit the big time with Internet/YouTube gimmicks, doesn’t mean everyone does. Most people still have to bust their asses.

  17. Daisy says:

    I agree with the folks who say that Africa is a continent, not a country. I also agree with the commenter Daphne. How about we stop whining about what “they” won’t do for us, and do it ourselves? Sheesh.

  18. the truth says:

    There should be one Vogue that represents a wide range of cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, etc. Vogue Africa is way too broad. Can we get a Vogue Nigeria? A Vogue Morocco?

  19. Chris says:

    I don’t think the issue is with there being a Vogue Africa for the continent, but moreso that this problem needs to be dissected and addressed in an intelligent way. Vogue Africa (pubbed in English and French) could happen, it just needs more than one creative guy behind it. It needs business minded people who really believe in the idea and who don’t buy this whole ‘victim’ mentality.

  20. Brandi says:

    Yea it kind of seems the “no” was given really quickly. But at the same time, he didn’t seem to propose it in the proper manner, either. I dunno, maybe he should try again.

    And I agree that maybe a country in Africa should be highlighted, rather than just lumping everything into the continent. Africa has a lot of different peoples.

  21. Janna says:

    As mentioned that was the wrong way to go about it, truth be told, it probably won’t happen, and I’m not fond of wanting those that don’t want me personally. I don’t think there should be a Vogue “Africa” I think there should be a few fashion magazines, started by Africans and African Americans (Afr Canadian, Afr Caribs, Afr Euros etc) for those that are interested. The power and the pull and the niche is there. Go for it!

  22. [...] behold in what’s has to be one this century’s head scratching business moves, Conde Nast (well Conde Nast France actually) has put the kabash on launching Vogue Africa. Epayna announced this on his Facebook [...]

  23. Ayo T says:

    I love these cover shots. And I love the Idea of some African editions of Vogue but I don’t want a Vogue Africa, as in a Vogue that would seek to cover fashion for a whole continent. I don’t think it could possibly do all the diverse and unique cultures and countries justice. Plus what other continent has a Vogue for it?

  24. Mz. Bronze says:

    Why are we constantly going to the white man for chit we can do ourselves. Can we please create our own Haute Couture magazine and blow the competition out the water and resume our rightful place as the most creative individuals this planet has ever seen…

  25. Valentine says:

    Africa is a continent so what… there is a Vogue Latin america what is the problem?? It would make Africa more united! But I agree, instead of waiting for the other to do things for us we should do it ourselves….

  26. I personaly feel not given a chance as africans to participate or show our beauty in this continent. Vogue editor is very unfair ” we want vogue”|

  27. La Lionne says:

    “posted by Daphne
    JULY 19, 2010 9:37 AM

    We need our own publication instead of crying about how Vogue won’t let us in the clubhouse.”

    EXACTLY! Moreover Africa in not a country or whatever, it is so reductive. Africa is a CONTINENT!

  28. Hawa says:

    I agree Felix, it seems as though African beauty is just not allowed to be portrayed on a regular basis with mainstream companies (ie. Vogue) in this continent. But in the UK, there is an African glossy mag, specifically a Horn of Africa magazine (the Horn of Africa is made up of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti) and it’s called Sheeko Magazine (Sheeko meaning “talk” or “story” in Somali) and it features various notable Horn of African figures, particularly those who work in the fashion industry. Until we can get a Vogue Africa or general African mag, I’m very pleased with Sheeko, despite having to order it in from London, England.

  29. [...] de modelos negros e também que a África pode trazer coisas interessantes pro mundo. Infelizmente parece que esse assunto não vai pra frente… / the idea of a Vogue Africa would be more than interesting; I think it could give more recognition [...]

  30. [...] net regarding the “acquisition of a franchise,” I learned that the idea of having an African Vogue was actually rejected by Conde Nast, the publisher of the magazine. That is Africa! And I thought [...]

  31. Sticky-n-Sweet says:

    But there is a VOGUE South Africa, and there is a Middle East VOGUE. But South Africa isn’t the whole continent though.

  32. gavin says:

    i’d love to see an African Vogue (rather than a south african one), mainly so a continents worth of inspiration, talent, resources and funding could be utlised in it’s production, rather than the limited resources available in south african publishing industry right now. if this were to take off, it needs to be done amazingly, or not at all.

  33. phil says:

    sticky-n-sweet. there is no such thing as vogue south africa….

  34. Daphne, yes, yes yes, yes. We Africans of the continent of Africa, and peoples of African decent, do not want a publication to monopolize our industry or dictate our standards of beauty and taste. We do not need the western fashion industries approval to be considered serious contenders in the global fashion industry.

  35. [...] lends instant legitimacy. Which is why it was so disheartening when Vogue‘s publisher Condé Nast refused to award a license for a dedicated edition of Vogue Africa when a black photographer petitioned for its creation. And [...]

  36. [...] Did Conde Nast Reject Vogue Africa? « The Fashion Bomb Blog /// All Fashion… All the Time –…. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Fashion by Celebrity Stylist Ty-Ron Mayes. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  37. [...] to a blog post by Claire at the Fashion Bomb: It was my understanding that Conde Nast France is itself a license of Conde Nast International, [...]

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  43. […] on a well connected global stage with my favorite supermodel of all time, Naomi Campbell, taking on the fallen baton by using her influence at the Vogue Festival in London, to call out the chairman of Conde Nast […]

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