The debut cover of Vogue Scandinavia is a beautiful display of the wonders of Greta Thunberg. Since her first school strike outside the Swedish Parliament in 2018, Greta has catapulted to fame, cementing her status as a fearless advocate for our planet. However, as a committed supporter of the fight against climate change, she has come under attack for fronting Vogue Scandinavia’s debut issue. Is posing for the cover of Vogue antithetical to everything she stands for?

Evidently, Greta recognises the irony in posing for a fashion magazine, and uses her interview with Vogue to call out the fashion industry for its impact on our planet’s destruction, speaking directly to the heart of the industry. She places emphasis on using Vogue as a platform to further her agenda, reflected through her tweets promoting the article. She writes that fast fashion companies in particular are exacerbating the climate crisis: “The fashion industry is a huge contributor to the climate and ecological emergency, not to mention its impact on the countless workers and communities who are being exploited around the world in order for some to enjoy fast fashion that many treat as disposables.”


Through her Vogue interview, Greta has planted this message in the heart of the fashion world, urging consumers to shift how they view fashion. Many of those with the privilege to buy fast fashion regularly treat their clothing as something to be disposed of, but Greta urges that our clothes should be made and bought to be reused, maintained and loved for as long as possible. And she leads by example. Greta admits in her cover interview that she has not bought anything new for the last three years. Instead, if she needs something, she borrows from people she knows, or re-uses and repairs her own items. Her personal fashion choices are usually simple and plain, as she re-wears her clothing and ignores new styles to avoid contributing to the climate crisis. During her cover interview with Vogue, she sported a simple, striped cotton shirt, washed and re-worn many times, and leopard print leggings with a patchwork repair that she sewed herself.

“Greta has planted this message in the heart of the fashion world, urging consumers to shift how they view fashion. ”

Greta also calls attention to the greenwashing that has become customary among fast fashion brands. Environmental activism has become a trend, albeit one that is superficial. Despite awareness among consumers, no real action or responsibility has been taken by the fast fashion giants. “You cannot mass produce fashion or consume ‘sustainably’ as the world is shaped today,” Greta explains, and so, inevitably, buying fast fashion means that “you are contributing to that industry and encouraging them to expand and encouraging them to continue their harmful process.”


As the recent IPCC report has shown, the earth is projected to reach 1.5 degrees of warming by 2030, a decade earlier than previously expected. The urgency behind Greta’s warnings is at the forefront of her cover, and while half the world seems to love her, the other half has responded with criticism. She has been branded both as a child who cannot think for herself and as a manipulative activist committed to generating fear. Numerous conspiracies have emerged attacking her, complaining that she is too emotional or that she can only parrot memorised facts. In 2019, former President Trump mocked Greta’s purported ‘anger management problem’, triggering a series of angry letters filled with threats that have forced her to move homes.

“Will the world finally hear her at long last, or will it criticise her Vogue debut as being incongruous with her message?”

Sadly, the mistreatment Greta has faced is not uncommon when women enter the activist scene. It speaks to a wider trend of women not being taken seriously, in particular when they do not appear palatable to the male gaze. Women with a voice are often expected to have a particular style. They must be feminine and fashionable, have the right haircut and wear makeup, but must never be excessive in any of these things. Greta has ignored these rules and has been unfairly punished because of it.

Her efforts are channelled at saving our planet, rather than aimed at whether her hair is dishevelled or if her wardrobe is aesthetic. Her voice is her most powerful tool and one that she uses fearlessly. Will the world finally hear her, or will critics continue to lambast her Vogue debut as being incongruous with her message?


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Either way, Greta has become the voice of a generation, and we can only hope that her Vogue debut will be heard and received seriously. As a young woman with a voice, Greta must take on the challenges of a patriarchal society, which wants women to behave and look a certain way. But although she is dressed up for the cameras, even in her Vogue photoshoot, Greta remains true to her core values. While her decision to star on the magazine’s cover may seem paradoxical, ultimately Greta uses this opportunity to emphasise her overarching message, which she takes to the fashion industry’s core. She asks Vogue’s readers to share in her hope for the planet’s future, and to be careful and conscious in their consumption. If we listen to Greta and finally treat the climate crisis as a true crisis, we can ensure that our clothing does not cost us the earth and continue to enjoy the wonders of nature.