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Vogue’s September issue celebrates activism

A ‘rallying cry for the future,’ the magazine’s autumn edition features an army of twenty inspiring activists dedicated to making change.

Traditionally the fashion bible’s most important issue of the year, this September sees Vogue put activism front and centre as part of a global effort to spread hope across 26 publications worldwide. Condé Nast started the initiative in response to the pandemic, the increasingly urgent climate crisis, and the surge in Black Lives Matter protests in recent months. Featuring a portfolio of artwork and photography, Anna Wintour explains that ‘we all need hope in our lives, now more than ever, and so at this tumultuous time, Vogue decided to bring all the global editions together around this optimistic, humane, forward-looking theme.’

Vogue is shining a light on those affecting change across a wide range of fields and issues in the UK including gender inequality, disability discrimination, and systemic racism. Called Activism Now, the fold out cover presents twenty boundary-breaking activists, all photographed in black and white. In addition, it marks the first editorial in Vogue’s 104-year history to be shot by a black male photographer, with a predominantly black team on set. ‘I am honoured and empowered to be able to capture the essence of these extraordinary people,’ says Misan Harriman, who caught the attention of Edward Enninful with his coverage of BLM protests around London.’

Fronted by professional footballer and philanthropist Marcus Rashford and Gurls Talk founder Adwoa Aboah, this months issue is an ‘ode to extraordinary voices, old and young, who in this difficult year have devoted their energies to fighting for a fairer society.’

Amongst others to feature are writer Janet Mock, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, author Reni Eddo-Lodge, racial justice campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo. ‘Women were leading the charge this year,’ says Enninful. ‘It just shows the strength of women, even in hard times, women prevail and lead the way.’

When all is said and done, 2020 will be remembered as an incredibly challenging year that demanded a moment of necessary and pivotal change.

‘Hope may be hard to find at a moment of crisis, but it also feels more essential than ever,’ finishes Wintour. ‘It’s part of our shared humanity, a source of delight and inspiration, and keeps us focused on a brighter future.’ You can read more about the issue here.