Bleaching Fashion: Liya Kebede Amica April 2013

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This is something I had to sit on and think if I’m really going to even bring up, let alone write a full-length story about it. But I just had to: I wouldn’t have felt honest about my fashion perspective otherwise.

See, I’m really a fortunate fashionista: I only talk about what I like and what interests me. I reminded you about my appreciation for Joan Smalls and Anja Rubik, Liya Kebede falls into the same category of models I like, women I actually look up to. Having her in a fashion magazine is so big for me, I usually cover her pictorials, meaningful or not.

Her grace, beauty and dedication make her special way beyond her beautiful physical appearance. Yes she’s an iconic model. But she’s also a wife, a mother and an activist. And here, a cover girl: for Amica April 2013. Bleached out and unrecognizable.

Liya Kebede Amica cover

To my greatest sadness and disappointment. Especially since the inside story seems to be praising Liya’s work and engagement in her humanitarian projects, her life as a mother and wife, the values she’s fighting for! How is it possible to authorize such a pictorial without anticipating the possible backslash from the fash-population or from mere amateurs like myself?

Liya Kebede Amica pictorial

I believe in honesty. I fight for optimism and joy in fashion more than I care to promote the monsters within. I trust that we can all be sincere with ourselves and the world we’re living in so that unfortunate distortions of the reality (like this one here) can’t be possible or accepted anymore. Sadly… they are: possible. Published. Spread. Why? Where’s beauty in conformity and uniformity, in dishonesty and distortion?

Liya Kebede bleached Amica April 2013 pictorial

I even tried Driu and Tiago’s website, the photographers responsible for this Amica and still none the luckier: the same embarrassing amounts of Photoshop and bleaching applied on their photos and published in this issue of Amica.

Liya Kebede bleached Amica April 2013 black and white pictorial

Liya Kebede bleached Amica pictorial

Liya Kebede Amica


#1 Ellington on 03.27.13 at 2:11 pm

Liya Kebede is a stunning model and role model. This kind of photoshop really angers me because it is a subtle form of racism.
They lighten the features of black women, and they darken the features of black men. The former to make them ‘more presentable’ and the latter to make them or to imply that they are threatening. Fashion thinks it is so progressive and ahead of the curve but they are so far behind and often very backwards.

#2 kpriss on 03.28.13 at 12:37 am

thank you! For not making me sound/feel paranoid! :) We should have more people like you in fashion and everywhere else!

#3 Eri on 04.01.13 at 1:16 am

Thank you for eloquently recognizing this prevalent problem in fashion. It is sickening to think that these editors seem to think that the only “acceptable” black women are ones that are lightened beyond recognition. It is amazing to think that this is still a issue in 2013. Fashion is not progressive, it is terribly regressive.

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