'Vogue' Is Being Dragged for Whitewashing After Calling Nail Art 'Manicure Sculptures'


chrmdbysarah/Instagram, Style_Kay1/Twitter

The mainstream media has a tendency to not give credit to things where it's properly due. Even though we're only a few days into 2018, the occasionally problematic fashion magazine Vogue is already being dragged for an article that whitewashes what they called "manicure sculptures."

  • The article, "Manicure Sculptures Are the Most Extreme Nail Art," highlighted New York–based nail artist Sarah Nguyen's work as a new trend of "next-level manicures."

    As the article described, Nguyen's work features large jewels and intricate, flashy designs, and costs around $300. "While the bare nails dominating spring runways call for a polish detox in downtown Manhattan, manicure whiz Sarah Nguyen is taking the world of nail art to new maximalist heights," the article read.


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  • Twitter quickly noticed that the article failed to pay homage to the people of color who have been wearing these designs for years.

    "Once again, taking a piece of a culture and calling it hip, cool, stylish or the new trend," another Twitter user wrote.


  • People were "disgusted" at the cultural appropriation, and how these nail styles were never considered desirable or fashionable until "white beauty culture" decided so.

    "Disgusting how comfortable you are with 'discovering' something thats already been in existence," another Twitter user wrote. 

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  • Or as one person put it, when a black person wears these nail styles, then they're "ghetto," but they're "bejeweled creations" on a white person's hand.

    "I wanna know how many times Black girls had these 'manicure sculptures' and were called ghetto or ratchet for it," another Twitter user wrote.

  • This issue is just one in a long line of cultural appropriation, as another user pointed out.

    The problem isn't Nguyen's art specifically; it's the fact that Vogue acted like what she was doing was new. It didn't acknowledge the roots that these nail styles have with communities of people of color, and doing such erases their culture and place in history. It's been done before with other beauty styles, like cornrows and undercuts


  • You would've thought that the magazine had already gotten the memo about being a "culture vulture" after last year's fiasco with model Karlie Kloss impersonating a geisha, but alas.

    Hopefully this year, the fashion mag (and others) will finally pay attention to diversity and pay tribute to the cultures and people where it is due. 

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