Edward Enninful will take over at British Vogue following Alexandra Shulman, who has been in command of the influential fashion publication for the last 25 years. Mr. Enningful will begin his duties on August 1 of 2017 and says the honor is, “truly a dream come true.” Enninful was only 18-years-old when he became the fashion director of i-D magazine when it was discovered that he had a prodigious talent, according to Time.
“I grew up reading British Vogue – I am so honoured and humbled to be taking up the mantle of editor… I realise I am stepping into the shoes of a hugely respected editor in the shape of Alexandra Shulman, someone who has chosen to leave at the top of their game with a legacy of 25 years of success.”
Enninful created substantial and lasting bonds with international models like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss that began in his shy teenage years. The Ghanaian-born fashion savant worked closely on the much talked about Italian Vogue black models only edition in 2008.
Chief executive of the British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush, praised the new editor as “forward-thinking, innovative, commercially astute and a true revolutionary when it comes to his ideas on what fashion should be.” Enninful, 45, then collected an OBE in 2016 for services to diversity in fashion.
“We need more diversity, from schools to internships to mentorships. That’s what I try to do.”
According to the Guardian, Enninful has been an enthusiastic champion of positioning non-white models into the spotlight, but his work is incredibly diverse and must go beyond tokenism, Rush insisted.
“It’s very easy to say, ‘Oh, there’s one black model in a show and one black or Asian model in an advertising photograph, so we’ve filled the quota.’ No, it should be a continuous conversation. It shouldn’t even be an issue as far as I’m concerned. Beauty’s beauty.”
Enninful told British Vogue that he is incredibly humbled by the honor of being appointed as the editor of the magazine. Edward also makes it clear that he understands the responsibility this honor holds — he will be stepping into the shoes of the former editor, Shulman, whose well-respected in the fashion industry.
“British Vogue is a great magazine with a legacy of creativity and innovation… I look forward to continuing to produce an exciting beautiful magazine for its readers
Edward Enninful Pushing Gender Boundaries In The Fashion Industry
Gender boundaries in the fashion industry have become quite blurry. The distinction between men’s and women’s clothing have become a thing of the past (the same goes for men’s and women’s magazine’s), according to the New York Times. Several fashion brands like Calvin Klein, Burberry, and Gucci have combined men’s and women’s fashion shows in light of this new reality.
Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, has explained it that both collections are a part of the “same story” and will most likely reflect the same point of view, so they should not be separate. According to the New York Times, the motivation behind the brands are irrelevant as the statement they are making has much more substance.
“It’s not unisex. It’s not gender neutral or gender bending or gender free or any of the other expressions we’ve been using to describe the current clothes-fluid moment, because it is, in fact, entirely gendered, at least going by traditional definitions of men’s versus women’s clothing. The clothes and their conceptual allegiance have not changed at all. The person wearing them has.”
Nicolas Ghesquière, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, used Jaden Smith to model its women’s collection in 2016. Chanel has also signed Pharrell Williams for its new handbag campaign. Men and women occupy the same space in real life and Edward Enninful being appointed the editor of British Vogue is just the fashion industry following suit.
Stefano Tonchi, the editor of W magazine, hired Mr. Enninful as creative and fashion director in 2011, said, “It’s a really historic moment.” Tonchi is also one of the few men heading a women’s fashion magazine.
“Fashion is always among the first industries to recognize a new reality… Maybe it’s an old notion that there are magazines for women and magazines for men, and it is time to just have magazines for people interested in fashion and creativity, whatever their gender.”
Of the 22 global editions of Vogue, three others are edited by men: Kullawit Laosuksri at Vogue Thailand, Kwang Ho Shin at Korean Vogue, and Emanuele Farneti at Italian Vogue.
Edward carried this boldness into the fashion world is additionally unafraid to be political. In February, in light of Donald Trump’s travel ban, Enninful assembled 81 central figures from the fashion industry and created a video in which they all asserted, “I Am An Immigrant.”
Enninful was born in Ghana, the son of an army officer and a seamstress who moved to West London with their six children when Edward was a toddler, according to the Guardian. Edward was raised by religious parents, he has said, were initially resistant to his choice to step into the modeling and fashion industry.
[Featured Image by Philip Toscano/Getty Images]