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Harrison 1 Vogue in the Middle East To the scholarly, the word vogue means general acceptance or favor.

But to all the fashionistas out there, vogue is much more than a definition. It is an art. It is an icon. It is beacon of hope. It is a shimmering light. It is Vogue Magazine. From its original publication in New York City in 1892, Vogue has expanded all across the globe. From Turkey to Australia to Brazil to Italy, Vogue is dominating the fashion world in 18 different countries. However, there is one portion of the earth snuggled right between Turkey and India that has not been touched by Vogues light- the Middle East. The people of the Middle East have not been graced with the art form of Vogue. Even more, the rest of the world has not had insight into the rich and cultural fashion of the Middle East. Because there is a Vogue Magazine in 18 different countries, all of those countries get to see bits and pieces of fashion trends on the other side of the world. Currently there is little conversation about Vogue in the Middle East. There have been articles and studies of Vogue in different countries, but none about the Middle East specifically. The United States, as well as the rest of the world, has a somewhat skeptical view of the Middle East. Citizens of the world may think that trying to bring Vogue there is just a waste of time, money and resources. They may also think that fashion isnt important enough to go through the trouble of bringing a fashion magazine to the Middle East. Since there are so many issues currently in the Middle East, it seems that bringing fashion there should be low on the list of priorities. However, bringing fashion to the Middle East will provide an escape for people of the Middle East and give insight of the Middle East to other parts of the world. Vogue recently published an article about the first lady of Syria and received quite a bit of criticism. People believed that Vogue should not be publishing an article praising a government that dictates to and has attacked its citizens. Vogue responded that the article opened a window

Harrison 2 into that part of the world. In the past, publishing stories about other countries has landed Vogue editions in Russia, Italy and Turkey. These seemingly small steps by Vogue could change fashion in the Middle East, and the world, forever. Currently, the Middle East is being deprived of the art form of fashion. Fashion is an art to be enjoyed by everyone, and that includes the people of the Middle East. Vogue Magazine should publish an edition of the magazine in the Middle East because it could provide artistic job opportunities and give insight to the rest of the world about Middle Eastern culture and fashion, as well as bring culture and fashion from other parts of the world to the Middle East. Establishing a Vogue in the Middle East could happen because Vogue has entered into other government restricted countries and they could provide a fabulous edition of Vogue very specific to Middle Eastern readers. So why fashion? If there are so many problems in the Middle East, why should fashion be a concern? Some people believe that fashion isnt worth a serious study or concern. They may wonder if bringing fashion to the Middle East is really worth the effort to break through government regulations. If things go wrong with brining the magazine to the Middle East, will there be negative consequences? Julie Williamsen, librarian for costume design and fashion at Brigham Young University, believes that bringing Vogue to the Middle East would be completely fabulous. It would give the Middle East a name on the fashion map (Williamsen). Besides being a fabulous fashion venture, Williamsen also believes that bringing Vogue to the Middle East would not only bring fashion, but great business opportunities for the people of the Middle East. Fashion is just as much an indication of culture as any other art form. And, just like art, fashion is unique to every part of the world. The laid back and diverse fashion of the United States is an indication of the culture, just like the dress of many Middle Eastern countries is an

Harrison 3 indication of their religious culture. There are hundreds upon thousands of museums worldwide boasting art forms from every century and every country. In a way, Vogue is the museum of fashion. Vogue has fashion from all around the world in all of their editions. They bring back fashion from the past and set new monumental trends for the future. Although fashion may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial because it is an expression of self-worth, ideas and culture. When talking about fashion magazines, Helen Kopnina states that beyond the surface level of brand advertisements and industry information, they are cultural objects that reflect the culture zeitgeist both visually and textually (Kopnina 367). Even experts, like Kopnina, are recognizing that fashion is more than just expensive fabrics and high heels. Fashion is a representation of a culture and its beliefs and people. Nobukaza Azuma furthers this point in his paper entitled Fashion in the Globalized World by saying: The twentieth century has witnessed far more than the mere transformation of art works into runway creations. It has produced a whole array of ideas and movements that illustrate the way in which the worlds of art and fashion inspire one another (Azuma 420). The essence of Azumas argument is that fashion is a way of sharing ideas and is an indicator of movements. He is also arguing that every culture of fashion can inspire on another. So why cant the countries of the Middle East share their history, trends and movements of fashion? Isnt their history of fashion and culture just as important to study as any other countries history? Fashion studies are seen by social scientists as something superficial,

fleeting and undeserving serious attention. But a more serious study of fashion could give experts so much more insight to varying cultures and societies. The fashion is the Middle East in unlike anywhere else. Sure, there is Turkish and Indian editions of Vogue, and those are close to the Middle East, but neither of the editions give insight into the actual fashion or culture of the

Harrison 4 real Middle East. A deeper study and observance of fashion in the Middle East, done by Vogue, would give the world a better understanding of their culture. The uniqueness, history and self-expression of fashion in the Middle East deserves to be shared with the rest of the world. There are multiple exhibits on Islamic Art and countless books on the history of Middle Eastern countries, but when has there ever been a showcase of fashion? Since fashion is just as much as an art form and an indication of a culture, it deserves to be praised. Once educated about the culture and fashion of the Middle East, Vogue readers will appreciate and understand the Middle East more. Vogue has created understanding and appreciation for 18 different parts of the world as theyve launched magazines there. Vogue was first created to bring American woman the latest and greatest fashion trends in Paris. When interest in American fashion sparked in Paris, a Parisian Vogue was established. Paris Vogue was brining American fashion to the French and American Vogue was bringing French fashion to Americans. French plays and books were featured in American Vogue. This was a good way for people to get a little taste of France in their American lives. It was almost a vacation to be reading Vogue. Vogue was the first ever magazine to have different editions in different languages and in different countries. Mary Davis, author of Classic Chic, believes that because of Vogue, transatlantic fashion and style was created (Davis 210). To bring an edition to the Middle East, Vogue can follow the steps they took in creating the Parisian Vogue. If more articles like the one about the First Lady of Syria were published in Vogue editions worldwide, the Middle East would start getting a lot more recognition in the fashion world. The more articles, photographs and fashion excerpts about the Middle East that are published, the more demand will rise for an edition in the Middle East. People will begin to have an interest in learning more about and visiting the Middle East. Likewise, brining an edition to the Middle East will give

Harrison 5 Middle Eastern readers a taste of other parts of the world. Essentially, Vogue could be their escape from whatever conditions they are in. The expansion of Vogue to all these countries has helped models, photographers and writers become globally known. Russian writers who never had a dream of making it in Russia could write articles for any other edition of Vogue and achieve worldwide visibility. Unrecognized writers, photographers and models from the Middle East could finally get their big break if an edition of Vogue was published there. They would get the recognition and payment they deserve for their hard work. Also, seeing Middle Eastern writers, models and photographers would help Middle Eastern readers identify more with the magazine. Some who are against the expansion of Vogue to the Middle East may say writers, photographers, models and editors in the Middle East arent qualified enough to write for such a prestigious magazine like Vogue. However, bringing Vogue to the Middle East will inspire those career enthusiasts. For example, Patrick Demarchelier, a world famous photographer, got his start at Vogue. Demarchelier was born to a modest family in Paris, and never dreamed of becoming famous until he received his first camera at age 17. After freelance photographing, Vogue recognized his talents and got him started in what is now a very prosperous career (Vogue 93). Like Demarchelier, there are talented freelance photographers in the Middle East just waiting to be discovered. Bringing Vogue to the Middle East could be life changing to aspiring models, photographers and writers. Vogue has edged their way into 18 different countries in different ways. Conde Nast, the publisher of Vogue, is a multi-billion dollar corporation that has their hand in fashion and lifestyle all around the world. Prior to the launch of both the Russian and Turkish editions of Vogue, Conde Nast opened Vogue Cafs in Ukraine and Istanbul. These cafes address the

Harrison 6 powerful consumer desire for food, luxury brands and hospitality. In late 2011, Stuart Nielsen, director of restaurants for Conde Nast International, said more cafe openings would be announced in the coming months, including in the Middle East. Opening a Vogue Caf in the Middle East would be of importance because it would start to give Vogue a name in the Middle East. If people saw this caf, and had a good impression and relationship with it, they would be even more likely to support an edition of Vogue there. If there was a Vogue Caf in the Middle East, it would be the only place the caf was established were an edition of the magazine was not. Announcing a caf in the Middle East is a good sign because it represents that there is thought about bringing Vogue to the Middle East (Conde Titles Launch). Vogue Magazine can enter into the government restricted countries of the Middle East because they have experience entering into heavily restricted countries before. They did this by establishing a Chinese edition of Vogue in 2005. From 1921-1976, only a few womens magazines were available in China and all were owned by the government. In China, the government usually exerts strict control over foreign magazines. However, womens fashion magazines seem to have less strict control over them because they are less focused on political issues and more on leisurely issues. Most international womens magazines operate in China through a franchise system. The wave of international magazines into China began in 1988 when Elle first brought about their Chinese edition. After this, China began to open its local market to international womens magazines. Since tight government control exists in China, nearly all Chinese editions are published under licensing agreements between local publishing houses and foreign corporations. Also, since upper-income woman are limited in China, survival cannot depend on circulation and most revenue comes from advertising (Pin 62).

Harrison 7 This example of Vogue in China sets an example of how the magazine could establish their name in the Middle East and thrive. Currently there are some magazines in Saudi Arabia. These are magazine like Arabian Woman Magazine and Expat Woman Dubai. There is, however, and edition of Ok! Magazine in the Middle East. Like in China, Vogue could start an edition in the Middle East by working through a franchise system. This would mean that Vogue would operate under another publishers successful business model. Their publisher, Conde Nast, would operate under a higher publisher who is seen as successful in the Middle East. Under the franchising system, Vogue could easily find themselves a key spot in Middle Eastern media and fashion. The closest Vogue has ever gotten to the Middle East is their Turkish edition. Launched in 2010, Turkish Vogue has brought forth Turkish designers, photographers and models. Like in China, this edition is licensed to a larger publishing group in the country, Dougus. Also, similar to China, this magazine thrives on advertising. The 562-page debut has 252 pages of advertising. The advertising is for big labels like Christian Dior and D&G, but it also boasts Turkish labels. Although Chinese Vogue and Turkish Vogue target different audiences and emphasize different things, they are both examples of how Vogue could operate in the Middle East. Even though there are 18 editions of Vogue, no two are alike. Each edition is specific and relatable to country in which its published. Helen Kopnina, a professor at the University of Amsterdam, conducted a study by comparing three international editions of Vogue. She chose to compare British, French and Russian Vogues. The basis for the comparison was analyzing advertisements, local representation, representing the other and tone and authority. Interestingly, articles in Russian Vogue were primarily about local leaders, all of whom were men. The representation of woman in Russian Vogue was very covered up and conservative while British

Harrison 8 and French editions showed woman as being strong, independent and provocative. The tone in the editions vary as well: British Vogue is very authoritative while French and Russian editions are only suggestive and open for free-interpretation (Kopnina 372). Kopninas study helps argue the fact that Vogue could thrive in the Middle East. Her examples of the variety of the three different countries show that Vogue can adapt to any culture and country. For the Middle East this would mean covering up womans bodies like in Russian Vogue. Interviews with influential government leaders could help boost the credibility of a Vogue in the Middle East, because the government would be more willing to allow an edition if they were an integral part of the magazine. With each new edition of Vogue, there have been questions of if the magazine is too controversial for a strict government. Recently, Italian Vogue took an image of a prisoner of war in Iraq and changed it to a fashion statement. The original image is of a prisoner sadistically waiting his death. Italian Vogue published a parody of this picture where the prisoner is a skinny model exuding sexuality and the heavily armed security personnel portray violence. The author of this article, Roger Nathan, believes that this image is degrading to the people involved in the actual war and inside the prisons (Roger 132). However, it was a good move for Italian Vogue to use this image. This parody of the image softened the interpretation and gave readers something to think about. Seeing that Vogue knows more than just fashion will show readers that they are complex and think about world events. This is also an example of how Vogue can conjure political controversy. While the parody of the prisoner of war image appeared in Italian Vogue the picture could have created a problem in the Middle East. Just like showing scantily clad woman is ok in the American and other editions of Vogue, it would not be accepted in a Middle

Harrison 9 Eastern edition. Vogue would have to differentiate between what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in Middle Eastern culture. Although bringing Vogue to the Middle East may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial because it can change the fashion world. Vogue should come to the Middle East so it can show the rest of the world the culture of the Middle East. Since fashion is an indication of culture and movements, Vogue will be a beacon of Middle Eastern culture. Seeing the fashion of Middle East will change the relationship that the rest of the world has with the Middle East. Currently, the relationship between other countries and the countries of the Middle East are somewhat negative and governmental. Giving people around the world a taste of Middle Eastern culture and fashion will change that relationship to a personal and positive one. My conclusion, then, is that Vogue would be fabulous staple in the Middle East and change the fashion world forever.

Works Cited Azuma, Nobukaza, and John Fernie. "Fashion in the Globalized World and the Role of Virtual Networks in Intrinsic Fashion Design." Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management 7.4 (2003): 413-27. Print. "Conde Titles Launch in Turkey and Russia." InPublishing. InPublishing Ltd., 22 Sept. 2011. Web. 3 Apr. 2012. <http:/www.inpublishing.co.uk/news/ articles/conde_titles_launch_in_turkey_and_russia.aspx>.

Harrison 10 Crawforth, Hannah. "Surrealism and the Fashion Magazine." American Periodicals 14.2 (2004): 212-46. Print. Davis, Mary E. "Vogue." Classic Chic. Los Angeles, California: University of California Press, 2006. 202-254. Print. Fritha, Katherine, and Yang Feng. "Transnational Cultural Flows: An Analysis of Women's Magazines in China." Chinese Journal of Communication 2.2 (2009): 158-73. Print. Ko, Eunju, et al. "Cross - National Market Segmentation in the Fashion Industry." International Marketing Review 24.5 (2007): 629-51. Print. Kopnina, Helen. "Culture and Media: The Study of National Editions of a Fashion Magazine." Studies in Communication Sciences 7.1 (2007): 85-101. Print. ---. "The World According to Vogue: The Role of Culture(s) in International Fashion Magazines." Dialectical Anthropology 31.4 (2007): 363-81. Print. Li, Pin. "International Cooperation and Globalization of the Magazine Industry in China." Publishing Research Quarterly 24.1 (2008): 59-63. Print. Roger, Nathan. "Abu Ghraib Abuse Images: From Perverse War Trophies through Internet Based War Porn to Artistic Representations and Beyond." At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries 75 (2011): 121-38. Print. Williamsen, Julie. Telephone interview. 16 Mar. 2012. "Vogue Contributors: Patrick Demarchelier." Vogue 1989: 26. Print.