I visited the Vogue Festival for the first time on Sunday. I’m not really a Vogue reader but when I found out that Naomi Campbell was one of the speakers this year I knew I had to get tickets. I have to say the entire programme looked very impressive (plus all the extra activities they had going on too) and I might consider going again next year. The final talk of the festival (the best was saved for last!) featured supermodel Naomi Campbell and Editor-in-Chief of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani who were interviewed by the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman. It was fittingly called ‘Fashion Legends’. The two discussed how they built their careers, the issue of diversity in fashion and why Africa could be the future of luxury.
It was magical when Naomi stepped onto the stage. I tingled with excitement and lost concentration for two minutes or so as I was so busy staring in awe at her perfect endless legs and flawless weave.
Franca and Naomi are both funny, passionate and intelligent and it was inspiring to see how committed they both are to making positive changes in an industry they’ve been a part of for so long. It was interesting hearing Franca talk about Vogue Italia’s famous Black Issue which was inspired by the lack of racial diversity on the runways as well as Barack Obama’s campaign.
Naomi said she felt that things were changing in regards to racial diversity in fashion, and told Alexandra Shulman, “When we started this whole thing about diversity, it wasn’t just about the fashion shows — it was that the designers would then follow through and use models of colour in the campaigns, which is what we’ve all wanted to see.” She held up a copy of British Vogue and flicked through the adverts, showing to the audience the models of colour that they featured. When asked whether she prefers to be called a black model or model of colour, Naomi stated she generally preferred the latter term as it includes all (non-white) ethnicities.
Naomi revealed her upcoming projects and confirmed that she will design a clothing line after previously being hesitant to do so. “Hopefully one of the things will be out by 2015,” she said. She plans to release two coffee table books with Taschen later this year as well as an anthology of nude archive images taken by Paolo Roversi. She will continue working on TV series The Face where she is executive producer and mentor, and she will continue her philanthropy work in Africa.
Perhaps surprisingly, Naomi Campbell admitted that she still gets nervous today when working on photo shoots and catwalk shows even though she is one of the most successful supermodels on the planet. She cares deeply about using her success and accomplishments to help provide opportunities to others, which I find remarkable.
Talking about her phenomenal success, she said, “In order to stand the test of time you have to be someone who can change and reinvent yourself and you must have a personality! But most importantly, you have to love what you do in an authentic way.”
I was a big Naomi Campbell fan before my visit to the Vogue festival, but now I’m in awe of her generosity, charisma and overall fabulousness and love her 1000 times more. She’s a brilliant inspiration to women everywhere and thank goodness there are women like her in the industry.
All Hail Queen Naomi.