A Cosmopolitan article from January that resurfaced online April 1 sheds light on a huge problem in the fashion industry. The article, “21 Beauty Trends That Need To Die in 2015,” presents a series of split images: on the left, trends “that need to die,” and, on the right, new “Hello Gorgeous!” trends to ring in the new year.

The controversy surrounds the racial identity of the models of those trends — only one mixed-race woman, Nicole Richie, was in the “Hello, Gorgeous!” column, while three black women and one Latina were in the “R.I.P.” column. Observers on Twitter sharply pointed out the dichotomy:


Media outlets also called out the bias, with assertive headlines like the Root‘s “Cosmopolitan Kills Black Styles To Let White Girls Live” and Bustle‘s “The Cosmo Article ’21 Trends That Need To Die in 2015′ Should Have Never Been Published.”

Cosmo attempted to deal with situation by swapping out some of the images and adding an editor’s note, writing, “This article focuses on beauty trends with images that represent those trends. Some images have been taken out of context, and we apologize for any offense. Celebrating all women is our mission, and we will continue to work hard to do that.”

But did anyone notice that this explanation places the blame on the reader, by asserting that they took images “out of context.” interesting apology. Or are people overreacting and jumping on the popular outraged opinion? Was Cosmo being deliberately biased against women of colour? It’s already rare that we see ourselves in mainstream fashion magazines and Cosmo is known to feature beautiful Black women like Naomi Campbell, Nicki Minaj, Tyra Banks and Beyoncé on the cover – so which one is it – overreaction or another jab at people of colour?

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