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Throwback Thursday: My Shoot with Mario Epanya + Revisiting the Idea of Vogue Africa

You know how on Facebook, they now show you memories from years back? The following images of my shoot with Paris based photographer and makeup artist Mario Epanya bubbled onto my feed earlier this week. And I was so into my ‘Yassss’ mode that I made it a cover photo for my personal Facebook page.
claire sulmers mario epanya
Mario and I met back in 2010 when I lived in Paris. Mr. Epanya was in the news at the moment for imagining covers of a fictional Vogue Africa (and we at Fashion Bomb Daily of course had to write about it!).
At the time, the idea seemed fabulous but far fetched and almost inconceivable (Mario actually inquired about purchasing the Vogue Africa license; his contact at Conde Nast France flat out said that an African edition of Vogue wasn’t possible).
mario epanya no to license conde nast Vogue-Africa-Facebook
Epanya received criticism and backlash for the covers (some said we don’t need validation from the West or from Conde Nast to be fashionable). Because it was such a good story, I decided to meet up with Mario Epanya to learn more about him and his background (I used to be such a good little journalist, now I’m so lazy, sigh!).
Anyway, after we talked, he offered to shoot me in his studio, and I demurred. Voila le resultat!
My Shoot with Mario Epanya
Six years later, and Conde Nast has certainly changed its tune regarding diversity and inclusivity. Beyonce, Rihanna, and even Kim and Kanye have since graced covers of American Vogue, and Teen Vogue just promoted my homie Elaine Welteroth to Co-Editor-in-Chief; Jessica Andrews is now Digital Fashion Editor at Teen Vogue. Times have changed!
So is it time to revisit the idea of Vogue Africa?
claire sulmers vogue africa
After my recent trip to Nigeria, it’s obvious that Africa is rich in resources and style. HOW one would go about getting this project going is beyond me, but it’s something that certainly makes you go Hmm…if not now, then when…?
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What do you think?
*In May 2010, Epanya told Fashion Bomb Daily, “…I love Vogue, champagne, cars, computers, and all the things that modern life bring, and I have no desire to enter into counter productive debates that won’t change anything in everyday life. I think it would suit certain people well if things didn’t evolve. Globalization is real and it’s time for Africa to sit at the table and propose what we can do instead of waiting to hear what we have to or should do. I say YES to Vogue Africa if it will permit dynamic creation in African fashion and YES to Vogue Africa if it would allow Africans to re-appropriate their identity, and YES 10 million times to Vogue Africa. Long live an open minded African continent that continues to make its voice heard. Amen.”
**I miss writing articles like that for FBD! Let me get my life together!

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