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The Vogue Departure ,Gabriella Karefa-Johnson’s Vision for a Redefined Fashion Industry

Crafting Change: The BoF Podcast with Gabriella Karefa-Johnson

In the latest installment of The BoF Podcast, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, a trailblazing stylist and former fashion editor at Vogue, engages in a candid conversation with BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed. The focus of their discussion centers on Karefa-Johnson’s decision to resign from Vogue and her unwavering commitment to steering the fashion industry toward a more progressive and inclusive future.

RESOURCED ARTICLE The BoF Podcast | Gabriella Karefa-Johnson on Building a Better Fashion Industry

Gabriella Karefa-Johnson has consistently stood out in the ever-evolving realm of fashion magazines. Her historic achievement in January 2021 as the first Black woman to curate a cover for American Vogue, featuring Paloma Elsesser and photographed by Annie Liebovitz, marked a significant milestone. Later that same year, she played a pivotal role in orchestrating the cover shoot featuring US Vice President Kamala Harris.

However, Karefa-Johnson recently chose to depart from Vogue. In her own words, “The truth of the matter is we grow, and sometimes our containers don’t grow with us. And so I am excited to build a new container for all of these ideas and this energy.”

During this episode of The BoF Podcast, Karefa-Johnson and Imran Amed delve into various facets of her professional journey, including strategies for navigating the demanding and hyper-creative fashion industry. Karefa-Johnson emphasizes the importance of avoiding burnout by prioritizing one’s inner self. “Staying true to who you are and maintaining the purity of that creative exchange is something that keeps me grounded,” she shares.

Reflecting on some of her most challenging assignments, Karefa-Johnson recalls the 2021 cover shoot with US Vice President Kamala Harris during the Covid-19 pandemic. The difficulties extended beyond the creative aspects, with limited communication due to masks and the intricate challenge of establishing rapport amidst a multitude of people, including 14 secret service agents, a press secretary, and a chief of staff.

Regarding her departure from Vogue, Karefa-Johnson expresses anticipation for what lies ahead. “I just hope that whatever comes of this career of mine models possibilities for the next Gabriella Karefa-Johnson,” she explains. “I can’t wait to take those tools and apply them in ways that are true to who I am and serve people who look like me.”

Gabriella Karefa-Johnson

One notable aspect of Karefa-Johnson’s commitment to the future of the industry is her dedication to nurturing emerging talent. Leveraging her network, she actively supports Central Saint Martins graduate Torishéju Dumi. “As a young black female designer, I knew that the hurdles she was up against would be exponentially bigger than some of her colleagues,” Karefa-Johnson states. “I wanted to be able to bridge the gap and give her a leg up, producing enduring young designers in the process.”

In essence, this episode provides not only a glimpse into Karefa-Johnson’s personal and professional reflections but also serves as a testament to her determination to mold a fashion industry that is not only creatively vibrant but also socially conscious and inclusive. As she embarks on a new chapter, the hope is that her journey paves the way for future generations and contributes to the enduring legacy of diversity and innovation in fashion.

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