Vogue Italia Reduced Its Carbon Footprint by Hiring Artists to Illustrate Its January Issue Instead of Staging Photo Shoots

Vanessa Beecroft and David Salle are among the artists contributing to the issue.

Two covers of Vogue Italia's January 2020 issue. Left cover by David Salle. Right cover by Vanessa Beecroft. Courtesy of Vogue Italia.

In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Vogue Italia won’t publish any glossy photo shoots in its January issue. Instead, it is commissioning artists to illustrate its pages. 

The environmental toll that the production of Vogue photo shoots takes is substantial, says Emanuele Farneti, the magazine’s editor in chief, in a note to readers.

“One hundred and fifty people involved. About twenty flights and a dozen or so train journeys. Forty cars on standby. Sixty international deliveries. Lights switched on for at least ten hours nonstop, partly powered by gasoline-fueled generators. Food waste from the catering services. Plastic to wrap the garments. Electricity to recharge phones, cameras,” Farneti writes.

The move marks the first time that any of Vogue‘s international magazines have published an issue without a photographic cover. Among the artists tapped to create one of the issue’s eight custom covers are Vanessa Beecroft, David Salle, Cassi Namoda, and Milo Manara. Though mixed in their aesthetic styles, each cover depicts a model wearing Gucci clothing and bears the phrase, “No photoshoot production was required in the making of this issue.”

A cover of Vogue Italia's January 2020 issue designed by Cassi Namoda. Courtesy of Vogue Italia.

One of the covers for Vogue Italia‘s January 2020 issue, designed by Cassi Namoda. Courtesy of Vogue Italia.

“Change is difficult, but how can we ask others to change if we are not prepared to call ourselves into question?” Farneti writes. “Accordingly, this month we wanted to launch a message: that creativity—which has been a cornerstone of Vogue for nearly 130 years—can, and must, prompt us to explore different paths.”

The money saved on the January issue will be donated to the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, a cultural center in Venice damaged by last November’s flood.

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