The organizers of New York’s famed Met Gala have chosen a roster of young and diverse celebrities as co-chairs with the apparent aim of attracting a new generation to the otherwise exclusive social climax of America’s Fashion Year.
This year’s gala will see poet Amanda Gorman, singer Billie Eilish, actor Timothée Chalamet and tennis star Naomi Osaka as co-chairs. Gorman (23) Eilish (19) Chalamet (26) and Osaka (23) are the youngest co-chairs in history and are part of American Vogue’s ongoing campaign to attract Gen Z readers.
In 2019, Vogue announced the editorial mission statement “Vogue Values”, in which 26 international Vogue editors announced that they uphold the values of “diversity, responsibility and respect for individuals, communities and our natural environment” .
However, these attempts to align with Gen Z’s values of diversity and inclusiveness come after a period of uproar for American Vogue, edited by Anna Wintour since 1988.
Last year, former editor-in-chief André Leon Talley wrote in his book The Chiffon Trenches that Wintour was: “Immunity against anyone other than the powerful and famous who inhabit the pages of Vogue.” Wintour has often been described as fostering an air of exclusivity and rarity that has often been a defining force in the fashion industry for years.
But the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement have pushed the fashion industry to act more responsibly and embrace diversity more.
After the murder of George Floyd sparked global protests against racism, fashion brands were called upon to report on social media about external declarations of alliance with the Black Lives Matter movement while maintaining internal cultures that do not did not reflect diversity.
In June, Wintour sent an internal memo to employees acknowledging that the magazine had “made mistakes … by posting hurtful or intolerant pictures or stories.” She added, “It’s not easy being a black employee at Vogue and there are too few of you.”
Meanwhile, Teen Vogue was mired in racial controversy after Wintour was involved in the hiring and then firing of new editor Alexi McCammond who sent out historic racist and anti-Asian tweets.
Wintour will be Honorary President of the Met Gala in September, alongside designer Tom Ford and Instagram director Adam Mosseri.