Ghanaian-born former model and stylist will take over from Alexandra Shulman in August.
Edward Enniful’s journey in fashion began at the tender age of sixteen when the then young teenager was stooped on the tube by influential stylist Simon Foxton, who was interested in building a modelling career with Enniful.
Twenty years later that journey on the Hammersmith and city line has culminated in bringing Enniful to the forefront of fashion, after British Vogue announced him as their new editor-in-chief.
The 45-year-old has been a previous collaborator with Vogue having a former contributing editor at US and Italian Vogue. Up until now he has been style and creative director at W magazine since 2011. Enniful has been very influential and is well liked in the fashion industry and as such many industry insiders have welcomed his appointment. However, whilst the decision has been well received it does not ,mean it was expected.
Ever since Alexandra Shulman, current editor announced the decision she was leaving after 25 years, gossip was ripe about who would replace her. Most assumed Vogue would hire internally and the position would go to one of its experience, female, fashion or feature alumni.
Vogue has shocked everyone not only hiring their first male editor in 101 years, they’ve also made Enniful the first person of colour to be editor of a major fashion publication. Enniful has been a major advocate for diversity in fashion Vanessa Friedman, the New York Times fashion director and chief fashion critic tweeted:
Congratulations to @Edward_Enninful new editor of British Vogue! This is going to shake things up.
— Vanessa Friedman (@VVFriedman) 10 April 2017
Enniful was born in Ghana, and is the son of an army officer and seamstress. It is his mother whom he gives credit to first introducing him to fashion. He says she inspired him with the vividly patterned colors and fabrics she used while creating clothing for her British-Ghanaian friends. He says his parent at first were not sure about him modelling due tot heir religious beliefs. Enniful was the prodigal son and soon at 18 he was the youngest fashion director of an international publication with i-D magazine. In this role he befriended Kate Moss and Naomi Campell when they were still teenagers. Naomi Campell said this of his appointment:
I never thought I would see this day !! Congratulations @edward_enninful OBE your deserve this !!! I’m truly Happy for you words cannot describe how I feel for you right now . And for what you will do in bringing people together being at the Helm of @britishvogue . God is the greatest !!! I Love you ❤❤😍😍❤❤😘😘🙏🏾 #EDITORINCHIEF #EDWARD ENNINFUL OBE #BRITISH VOGUE. #TODAY HISTORY WAS MADE
Last year Enniful collected an OBE for services to diversity in fashion, he has been a champion for the use on more non-white model in fashion publication and is vehemently against tokenism in the fashion industry.
“We need more diversity, from schools to internships to mentorships. That’s what I try to do.
“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.”
We can expect that Enniful’s vogue is going to include more diversity that people have seen. It may also be more political due to Enniful not being afraid to introduce politics to fashion. In response to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban Enniful gathered 81 leading figures in fashion to publicly declare “I am a immigrant”.