In a landmark move, British Vogue has tapped Edward Enninful as its new editor-in-chief. Alexandra Shulman’s successor is an industry favorite, having produced some of the most exciting and groundbreaking work in fashion from both his six years as creative and fashion director at W, and his 20 years as i-D’s fashion director.
His journey to the top of the masthead has been a remarkable career trajectory. Enninful moved from Ghana to London’s Ladbroke Grove when he was a young boy, and at age 16, he was scouted as a model by prominent stylist Simon Foxton. Juggling his short-lived modeling career alongside art school at Goldsmiths, he was introduced to the world of fashion before being given a position at i-D when he was 18, where he became known for his street-inspired edgy aesthetic. Since then, he has cultivated a phenomenal career in fashion, contributing to both Italian and American Vogue — with his work on Vogue Italia’s "The Black Issue" and "The Curvy Issue" making major waves — before his role at W, in 2011.
What is so remarkable about this new appointment is that Vogue, a publication that has time and again failed to diversify its pages, will now have a black, openly gay man at the helm. Indeed, the stylist is not only a relevant choice for his taste-making aesthetic, but for his political engagement, too: Enninful recently worked on a video, I Am An Immigrant, in which he gathered 81 fashion industry figures in a call to arms against the extremism and xenophobia seen in contemporary politics.
Let’s be clear: When it comes to diversity, Vogue has moved begrudgingly toward a more inclusive, representative landscape. And, as it continues to produce seemingly tone-deaf editorials, many wonder if Vogue can figure out how to become relevant to a young, savvy, culturally open-minded, 21st century audience. After all, Jourdan Dunn was the first solo black model to grace its cover in 12 years.
Enninful's predecessor admittedly propelled fantasies versus realistic representations of women in the publication's pages, as Shulman explained in a 2014 radio interview: “Nobody really wants to see a real person looking like a real person on the cover of Vogue. People don’t want to buy a magazine like Vogue to see what they see when they look in a mirror. They can do that for free.” However, with the appointment of Enninful, it'd seem like the hallowed publication is finally waking up.
“By virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue," Condé Nast's Jonathan Newhouse said in a statement released today. Enninful, the magazine’s 11th editor, will assume his role on August 1st. We cannot wait to see where his creative vision and aesthetic takes the magazine.