In a landmark move, British Vogue has named Edward Enninful its new editor. Alexandra Shulman’s successor is an industry favourite, having produced some of the most exciting and groundbreaking work in fashion, from both his six years as creative and fashion director at US magazine W, and his twenty years as i-D’s fashion director.
Enninful moved from Ghana to London’s Ladbroke Grove when he was a young boy, and aged 16 he was scouted as a model by prominent stylist Simon Foxton. Juggling his short-lived modelling career alongside art school at Goldsmiths, he was introduced to the world of fashion before being given a position at i-D aged 18, where he became known for his street-inspired 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 seminal Black Issue and The Curvy Issue making waves, before taking up 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, gay man at the helm. Indeed, the super stylist is not only a relevant choice for his taste-making aesthetic, but for his political engagement too: Enninful’s latest foray into video - I Am An Immigrant - went viral, in which he gathered 81 fashion industry folk in a call to arms against the extremism and xenophobia seen in contemporary politics.
Let’s be clear: Vogue has been left behind, stuck in the past and seemingly unsure how to become relevant to a young, savvy, culturally open, 21st century audience. The fact that Jourdan Dunn was the first solo black model to grace its cover in twelve years proves this. As did Shulman’s admission of propelling a fantasy, as she 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.” Well, it seems like the Condé Nast 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 from 1st August this year. We cannot wait to see where his powerful vision and revitalising attitude take the magazine.