Credit: Vogue Italia
Italian Vogue launches 'photo-free' sustainability issue
Italian Vogue has made a statement about sustainability by producing its January issue without photographs.
The magazine's first issue of 2020 will instead feature illustrated stories and a series of hand-drawn covers created "without traveling, shipping clothes or polluting in any way."
In an editorial note published on Vogue's website on Thursday, the Italian edition's editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti said that he wanted to "launch a message."
"In the global debate on sustainability, and the values that Vogue has pledged to promote over the next decade ... there is one aspect that is particularly dear to me: intellectual honesty," he wrote. "In our case, this means admitting that there is a significant environmental impact associated with publishing a fashion magazine."
To put the decision into context, Farneti estimated that the magazine's bumper September issue took the work of 150 people, 20 flights and "a dozen or so" train journeys. He also cited the electrical consumption, plastic use and food waste that resulted from producing the magazine's eight photo-led articles that month.
This marks the first time the magazine has run an illustrated cover in its 55-year history. Artists commissioned to produce the portraits include Japanese illustrator Yoshitaka Amano, Mozambique-born painter Cassi Namoda and Italian comic book writer Milo Manara. They each depicted different cover models, including Lili Sumner, Olivia Vinten and Lindsey Wixson.
Ahead of hitting newsstands next week, Italian Vogue previewed seven different covers on its official Instagram account.
The January issue's editorial content is also set to focus on sustainability in the fashion industry. The magazine's featured stories will explore topics including clothes recycling and reducing waste in garment manufacturing.
"These are fashion stories in the true sense of the term: the artists were assisted by stylists, and they have portrayed the faces of real women," Farneti said. "But the challenge was to prove that, as an exception, it is possible to show clothes without photographing them."
Farneti's note explained that there will, in fact, be one photo feature in the magazine, but that it was included "because it was shot by two 17-year-old photographers," adding that "they are the eyes of tomorrow on loan to our present."
He also revealed that Vogue Italia's parent company, Condé Nast Italia, will only be using compostable plastic to wrap the magazine in the future, a move he said comes with "substantial but necessary added cost."
The money saved by the magazine will be donated to help restore the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, a Venice cultural institution damaged by catastrophic floods in the city in November, Farneti said.