Vogue CS in English
Editor-in-Chief of Vogue CS Statement
Andrea Běhounková27. 8. 2020
I grew up in a time and country where speaking your mind was forbidden and people like Vaclav Havel, who would later become our president, were arrested and imprisoned while others quietly and obediently lined up to buy (then rare) bananas. Maybe that is why I value freedom (not just of speech) above all else and why I am grateful that my daughter is growing up in a completely different reality. And because discussion is part of freedom, I want to thank everyone who expressed their views on the cover of the September issue of Vogue CS. I have read all your posts, open letters, and calls and I would like to put the record straight regarding the message of our cover story, including the cover page with six white models representing eco-activists.
The September issue of all Vogue editions around the world is dedicated to hope. Anna Wintour came up with the theme in spring and each edition worked with it in its own way. After long discussions on how to approach it so that it does not seem too general or vague, my team and I agreed that if something carries the message of hope for us, it is the willingness and courage of individuals to step out of their comfort zone and regardless of their influence, power or comfort try to make the world a little better. We can call it activism but also engaging with our community, or empathy. Each of us has a chance to start something small with our voice, gesture, or action that then snowballs into something bigger and in the end, the small action can have an enormous impact.
The cover story photographed by Michal Pudelka which - and that is very important to mention - reflects only one form of activism, namely environmental protection, responds specifically to deforestation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia that is happening due to bark beetle infestation and drought. We took the photos in mid-June in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands where only a few years ago there were deep forests but where today are plains and bare slopes.
To all those who feel damaged by these photographs or feel that we are privileging a certain population, I repeat - we reflect on one local problem, and we have adapted our casting to that. Vogue is a fashion magazine and the published portfolio must be treated as fashion photography. We point out a specific problem but we process it in our own way - that is with the participation of models and not real activists. With all due respect to all races and colours of skin - when there is deforestation in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, you will not find anyone except the local population both on the side of activists and lumberjacks. We are not a cosmopolitan country, and this is reflected in the selection of models in this particular story. The same applies to styling, the message of which is as follows. Even a white privileged woman can stand up to lumberjacks and plant trees. Even a woman dressed from head to toe in premium fashion brands can be an eco-activist.
As of today, the September edition is available on stands in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and we are also preparing a preview of its content in English which will appear on our website very soon. After browsing through it, no one will be left in any doubt about the diversity of this issue. We have selected most, perhaps even all, topics so as not to overlook any critically important area of today’s world, including the support of African designers and fashion brands.
Since the first issue of Vogue CS, which was published just two years ago, inclusivity and relevance of the topics we choose have been among our main interests. It is no coincidence that we used a vintage coat on the cover page of the first issue to draw attention to the (un)sustainability of the fashion industry, and it is no coincidence that we were the only fashion magazine to celebrate the election of the first female president of Slovakia or to promote transgender models in our last November issue.
As the editor-in-chief of the Czech and Slovak edition of Vogue, I feel responsible for everything that is published under the Vogue CS logo each month, and I personally and on behalf of the entire Vogue CS and V24 media team express our support for all movements that are actively involved in alleviating injustice or oppression of any living soul on the planet. But to return to the ideals of Václav Havel and especially to the topic of the September issue, hope, then the consequence of all our efforts should be, above all, harmony. Life in a harmonious society where no one is oppressed because of their appearance, colour of their skin, or their gender. Where respect for every human being comes first and without any conditions.
For 128 years of its existence, Vogue has always been not only an engaging medium, at the same time it has always been artistic. And the privilege of art at all times should always be freedom. Please do not allow anyone to commit injustice against others with impunity, and at the same time, let us not allow any ideology to dictate to artists how they should-can-must express themselves.