edward enninful | a new era

April 11, 2017

words by: Vane Karolle

British Vogue has just appointed Edward Enninful as its Editor-In-Chief. Enninful will be taking the reins from the magazine's longest serving editor as yet; Alexandra Shulman. Edward is set to take up the role come August 1. He saw off other candidates – Vogue’s deputy editor Emily Sheffield and the Financial Times’ Jo Ellison.

Photograph: Wolfgang Tillmans

Photograph: Wolfgang Tillmans

Enninful's upward trajectory in fashion since the 80s has been quite notable. Starting out as a model, Edward graced the pages of i-D at 16, assisted on shoots at 17, became the youngest ever editor at a major fashion magazine as he was named i-D's Fashion Editor at 18,  dubbed Fashion Director at 19 years old - a role he held for 20 years. Edward has since gone on to become Fashion and Style Director of W Magazine, and a contributing editor to the Italian and American editions of Vogue.

Enninful accompanied by close pal, Naomi Campbell while receiving his OBE at Buckingham Palace last year. Photograph: Reuters.

Enninful accompanied by close pal, Naomi Campbell while receiving his OBE at Buckingham Palace last year. Photograph: Reuters.

Enninful's appointment is a signal towards a shift in fashion. The OBE honor bestowed upon him in June 2016 is proof that he is the right man for the job as this serves an acknowledgement of his services to diversity. For a fact, the stylist has been making exceptional, noteworthy, sometimes hot-button pushing images for quite sometime now. Enninful has a reputation for being a 'white knight of diversity' with his outside-the-box fashion titles and has successfully garnered and held the attention of fashion millennials.In a statement about Enninful's appointment, Condé Nast chairman and chief executive Jonathan Newhouse describes him as "an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist," adding that, "by virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue".

One can eagerly look forward to the multifariousness Ghanaian-born Enninful will be bringing to British Vogue which the magazine has been lacking. As As contributing fashion editor at Vogue Italia, the magazine's “all-black” issue in 2008  was specifically published under his supervision and and this became a bestseller (Condé Nast printed an extra 40,000 copies). His role as fashion and style director at W magazine made the monthly publication one of the must-see fashion zines. Thanks to Edward, W magazine featured a diverse cast of A-listers, with peculiar interest in the likes of Rihanna, Ruth Negga, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss to name a few.

Enninful has often harped on the need for change in the industry which is considered to be predominantly white ;

If you put one model in a show or in an ad campaign, that doesn’t solve the problem,” he said at a talk last year. “We need teachers in universities, we need internships, we need people of different ethnic backgrounds in all parts of the industry. That really is the solution; you have to change it from the inside.” 

Edward's appointment as E-I-C might just be the shake up British Vogue needs. Expect more inclusive and diverse images in the magazine's glossies.

The British Vogue also stands to gain more international exposure from this new development. Without a doubt, Enninful is well connected. His works with in-demand photographers such as  Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott say a lot about what he has to offer the magazine. His affiliations with Naomi Campbell, rihanna, Kate Moss and the likes, go beyond the professional realm, these are Edward's friends and true supporters. With household names only a phone call away, one can foresee a boost in the British Vogue's profile internationally.

My predictions on what the pages of British Vogue will look like after the hand-over? Smashing and mind-blowing. More diverse cover stars. With Edward, 44, the magazine will definitely be seeing things from a younger perspective. 

Welcome to a new era.