The news broke that Alexandra Shulman will be stepping down as Editor-in-chief of British Vogue, information pills followed swiftly with the announcement of her successor. To much surprise and breaking from tradition in many ways, look Edward Enninful OBE was named as the future Editor-in-chief to take reigns of the magazine.
In her 25 years as the British Vogue editor, drug Shulman has been instrumental in ensuring the magazine was more than a monthly handbook of style and beauty. Seeing through shifts in British Fashion through the growth of iconic designers, political and economic storms. Her tenure at British Vogue boasts an impressive set of work including the iconic “Millennium Issue”, as well as launching the Vogue festival, and marking last year’s 100th British Vogue issue featuring the Duchess of Cambridge. Its undeniable that her legacy cannot be tainted.
But what does it mean now that British Vogue has appointed its first male Editor-in-chief in their 100-year history? It is without doubt that Vogue is the pinnacle of fashion and the role of Editor-in-chief is its’ matriarch. Therefore, is a male editor an expected inevitability after 100 years or is this a bold appointment against tradition. Every Editor-in-Chief has played an important role, not just at British Vogue, but within the whole of the British fashion industry, who will no doubt await with anticipation. Being the first male, after 100 years of female editors, can we expect Enninful’s approach to this important role to be somewhat different?
Enninful may not be a familiar name to some but, nevertheless, he brings a spectrum of experience from within the fashion industry. Starting out his fashion career aged 16, he became a London-based stylist where he worked for Nick Knight. Since then his career took off- becoming the youngest Fashion Editor in the cutting-edge, fashion magazine i-D, to most recently acting as style editor for W Magazine. If that didn’t impress you, Enninful has also played a leading role in Vogue Italia’s landmark “Black Issue”, where it was so successful that they had to print an extra 40,000 copies. Enninful’s extensive résumé makes him more than qualified to be British Vogue’s new Editor-in-Chief.
As well as being the first male, Enninful also marks the first black person to edit the magazine. He has always celebrated his Ghanaian heritage throughout his career. This spirit has transcended to those he’s worked alongside, encouraging others within the industry, including models, actresses, designers and other creatives, to be proud of their background. In 2016 his work, encouraging diversity within fashion communities, was recognised when he received an OBE for services to diversity in the fashion industry.
Conde Nast chairman, Johnathan Newhouse called Enninful, “an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist”. His highly regarded status within the industry may have been the reason he was picked for the role, but, unlike other Vogue Editors, he continues to actively stay in touch with future generations of talent. It goes without saying that Enninful is an emblem of progress and diversity. The British public will look to him for a touch of positivity and continue to pick up an issue of British Vogue to escape the sirens of the noisy outside world.
Written by Angelee Kholia