Franca Sozzani, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia since 1988, and a woman I personally have had deep admiration for, has died after a year-long illness. As Alexandra Shulman, British Vogue editor-in-chief puts it "powerful, beautiful, intelligent and creatively adventurous" and also elegant...“Franca was one of those people who really was legendary.”
She was a pioneer and had a reputation for pushing the boundaries with each and every issue of Vogue Italia, creating work that challenged fashion’s status quo. Throughout her career, Sozzani advocated for emerging designers – a work that she continued with Vogue Italia Talents. For me I admired her position in the industry as a woman of influence, and with the growing problems impacting the fashion industry, her awareness and commitment to what she was able bring to it.
Being a strong advocate of sustainable development and fashion myself, one of my favourite quotes from her - that showed her depth and willingness to educate readers through her work is her words published in the EVER Manifesto: a publication aimed at stimulating reflection, debate and inspiring positive transformations.
"A magazine, I believe, has a mission and Vogue, as the fashion magazine also has a responsibility to help the readers understand not only the ephemeral side of fashion, but also the ethical side."
Sozzani was also a Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion4Development — a global campaign that uses fashion-based initiatives to support the United Nations’ wider issues highlighting her goal in using her position and influence to push the boundaries, and change the status quo, and earlier this month, Sozzani was celebrated at the British Fashion Awards, where her friend Tom Ford presented her with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change.
One of the key things that stuck out for me was that Ms. Sozzani was also a vocal pioneer of Africa and increasing racial diversity in fashion. Ms. Sozzani did the first “all black” issue for women’s Vogue in 2008, and she has subsequently promoted multiculture with a focus on Africa, and devoted a month’s men’s wear issue to the continent. The May L'Uomo Vogue's 2012 was an all-Africa magazine on 'Rebranding Africa' with images of beauty and grace far removed from violence and poverty. And the magazine’s cover featured, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the's 2012 United Nations.
Inside the magazine, an interview with Mr. Ban contains an impassioned plea to move Africa away from bad news toward positive thinking. “Africa does not need charity — Africa needs investment and partnership,” said Mr. Ban. Which due to my own personal background in social justice and international human rights law struck a chord for me - and Sozzani's drive to reframe the narrative around Africa, along with her intelligence and political position on such matters led to me to explore what I could do in fashion with my legal training and rights based background and thus came to life the initiative Eco Fashion Rules, that I launched in 2013.
Her achievements and impact on the fashion industry, by no means can be summed up in this short write-up. However, thanks to Franca Sozanni her insight and influence continues to inform my work and is largely a big part of why I do what I do today.
We are saddened to hear that the much-loved Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani has passed away.