Meghan Markle can now add another position to her resume – guest editor for British Vogue. Hitting stands in August, Markle’s edition breaks tradition and norms for British Vogue and royals’ behavior alike.
The September issue for fashion magazines is considered to be the most influential edition of the year in the fashion world. The issue is the largest in size and takes months to assemble; Markle has been working since January on the project. In the fashion industry, the fall and winter collections are the most viewed out of the year, and the September issue of Vogue marks the start of that season. Traditionally, there is only a big name on the cover of the issue, and the book is edited by the editor-in-chief, currently Edward Enninful.
Meghan Markle defied the expected and requested to guest-edit the crucial issue, becoming the first person to be a guest editor for British Vogue’s September issue. Markle, in her introduction to the issue, said, “I know how important the September issue is for the fashion industry. I realize the reach, and I see the opportunity to be a part of fashion’s push for something greater, kinder, more impactful.”
Markle did just that as she strove to, in her words, diversify what the September issue typically represents. Markle and Enninful included U.K. designers, ethical and sustainable brands, a focus on internal beauty, the power of breathing and meditation, and, most notably, influential women of a variety of backgrounds and trades.
“From the very beginning, we talked about the cover – whether she would be on it or not,” said Enninful. “In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a ‘boastful’ thing to do for this particular project. She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires.”
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I am thrilled to reveal the cover of the September 2019 issue of @BritishVogue – and to introduce you to the bold, brilliant and inspirational woman who has guest edited it with me: HRH The Duchess of Sussex @SussexRoyal. For the past few months, the Duchess and I have been working together on this shared passion project: to dedicate British Vogue’s biggest issue of the year to all the remarkable women who are redefining our world for the better. We have called it – and them – our #ForcesForChange. The story begins with this cover, starring 15 changemakers, all titans in their respective fields, who have been personally selected by the Duchess and myself for the powerful and positive differences they are making in our world. The 16th slot will appear as a mirror on the printed cover, and was included at the special request of the Duchess to show that you – that all of us, in fact – are part of this moment too. It’s been a real labour of love and I feel very humbled today to be able to finally unveil it to the world. Read about how the Duchess became the first guest editor of the September issue in the magazine’s 103-year history at Vogue.co.uk now, and discover the full cover story in the new issue, on newsstands Friday 2 August. Photographed by @TheRealPeterLindbergh, with fashion editors @Edward_Enninful and @TheRealGraceCoddington, hair by @BartPumpkin and @SergeNormant, make-up by @TheValGarland and @Diane.Kendal, nails by @LorraineVGriffin and @YukoTsuchihashi. Starring: @AdwoaAboah @AdutAkech @SomaliBoxer @JacindaArdern @TheSineadBurke @Gemma_Chan @LaverneCox @JaneFonda @SalmaHayek @FrankieGoesToHayward @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @YaraShahidi @GretaThunberg @CTurlington
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Those women include Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, LGBTQ+ activist Laverne Cox, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, and actors Jameela Jamil and Yara Shahidi. The cover, arranged in rows of four, features 15 portraits in black-and-white with a reflective box letting the reader see themselves with the title “Forces for Change” overlaid. Markle’s influence extended to the selection of the photographer, Peter Lindbergh, whom she admires for his preference to shoot subjects in their natural states, wearing little makeup, and with minimal retouching.
Within the issue are essays from Brené Brown and Jameela Jamil, as well as interviews with Dr. Jane Goodall and Michelle Obama.
While she advises readers to remember that this issue is still a magazine that will feature advertising, Markle said, “The overall sentiment I hope you’ll find, however, will be one of positivity, kindness, humor, and inclusivity.”
As with everything Meghan Markle does as a new member of the British Royal Family, she has received significant criticism for a slew of reasons. She has been criticized for not including the Queen on the cover or its contents, for making a dig at the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton for appearing on the cover in 2016, for appearing boastful throughout her interviews and creation of the issue, and generally making a poor public relations choice for her image.
Markle is no stranger to intense criticism from the media since her marriage to Prince Harry, and this round will be no different. Meghan Markle, in our eyes, will go down in history as a “trailblazing changemaker” herself.