Vogue

UK Vogue editor: Nobody wants a 'real person' on cover

March 19, 2014 at 11:25 AM ET

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17:  Alexandra Shulman attends the Evening Standard Theatre Awards at The Savoy Hotel on November 17, 2013 in London, Engla...
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British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman said designers should use "bigger models."

Readers turn to British Vogue for fantasy and escape, not to look at ordinary, “real people” they see every day, according to the magazine’s editor, explaining why she’s “fed up” with questions about the use of thin models.

"People always say, 'Why do you have thin models? That's not what real people look like.' But nobody really wants to see a real person looking like a real person on the cover of Vogue," editor Alexandra Shulman said in a recent BBC Radio 2 interview with singer Lilly Allen.

Yet, Shulman, who has been the magazine’s editor since 1992, noted that the current issue features British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, a “totally real person.”

“I’m kind of very proud of having that,” she said. “But yeah, people don’t want to buy a magazine like Vogue to see what they see when they look in the mirror. They can do that for free.”

Shulman said she actually prefers more artsy, creative covers, but those never sell as well as traditional ones. People who love fashion will buy Vogue regardless, so the cover art is meant to draw people who normally wouldn’t pick up the magazine, she said.

"I think Vogue is a magazine that's about fantasy to some extent and dreams, and an escape from real life,” she said.

Shulman pointed out that she has said in the past that fashion designers need to feature larger models in their shows. She also called it “kind of insane” that someone as “pretty tiny” as Lilly Allen couldn’t get into a sample size often worn by models.

“I do think the designers should sort of cut bigger. I think they should use bigger models on the catwalk,” she said. “I’ve said it again and again,” she said. 

Vogue declined to comment further on the article when reached by TODAY.com.

Shulman acknowledged that defending the magazine and the fashion industry from critics “comes with the job,” yet there’s no incentive to change the status quo.

“The magazine does really well so obviously, some people like it. It’s not a real problem,” she said. “I get fed up with having to deal with the question of ‘Why are models thin?’ That sort of bores me, but that’s the only thing really.”

Shulman's comments prompted some cheeky responses on social media.

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