For better or for worse, Vogue loves itself some Gigi Hadid, so it's no wonder the mag chose Hadid to represent the brand on the cover of the first issue of Vogue Arabia.
Hadid is half-Palestinian, and so this cover, she wrote, is more than just an honor, it also gives her a platform to represent the region of her heritage.
"Being half-Palestinian, it means the world to me to be on the first-ever cover(s) of @voguearabia, and I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry's desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to... & learn and grow in doing so," Hadid said on Instagram.
I think the beautiful thing about there being international Vogue's is that, as a fashion community, we are able to celebrate, and share with the world, different cultures. Being half-Palestinian, it means the world to me to be on the first-ever cover(s) of @voguearabia, and I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry's desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to... & learn and grow in doing so. Thank you @deenathe1st for your vision and for having me on this cover... by the incredible @inezandvinoodh - so much love.
Of course, with the cover comes the criticism of people claiming she only uses her heritage when it can benefit her monetarily. Others are saying her cover, which celebrated Middle Eastern fashion, is cultural appropriation.
@GigiHadidsNews Vogue Arabia editors: lets get a white model and have her appropriate Arab culture when we could just get an Arab model— that bitch (@thatwokehoe) March 2, 2017
@GigiHadidsNews being part Arab, she surely don't show it.— that bitch (@thatwokehoe) March 2, 2017
so Gigi Hadid remembers her Palestinian roots when vogue Arabia want to feature her but when it comes to political problems she's quiet— layan (@layansarh) March 1, 2017
“Dear Gigi Hadid, stop appropriating the hijab.”https://t.co/zHTx0cn6oF— eemi (@eemanabbasi) March 2, 2017
Keep your appropriation when Muslim women are attacked & killed for practicing Islam. We don't need validation from your "high fashion" mag.— eemi (@eemanabbasi) March 1, 2017
Personally, I think these are pretty harsh claims given that none of us are chillin' with Hadid in her home at night. We don't really have the basis to say whether or not she gets to claim her heritage.
We're all entitled to live our truths, and this is one that Hadid seems to hold as an important foundation for her self-identity.
Furthermore, even if she doesn't talk about it that much, that doesn't mean it isn't a rich part of her ethnicity.
I also take issue with people calling this cultural appropriation. Fashion pulls from so many different mediums and inspirations. The garments in this photo shoot aren't meant to debase any culture in any way, but to celebrate the differences and diversities as beautiful. Why is that not acceptable? Especially when those designs are being worn by a woman whose ancestry lies in that rich history.
For me, this cover exists to educate and to celebrate women from diverse backgrounds who deserve to be celebrated for their fashion, and that represents something bigger and more important than mere clothing. And that's an initiative I can get behind.
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