Editor-in-chief, British Vogue
For the first time in British Vogue’s 101-year history, a man has taken over as editor-in-chief. And a black man at that. Step forward 44-year-old Edward Enninful, the newly crowned king of the UK fashion industry and a creative whirlwind with a history of upending the status quo.
Enninful, says Conde Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse, is “supremely prepared” for the role, which he takes over in August from the lauded Alexandra Shulman who was 25 years in situ.
The son of a seamstress, he was born in Ghana but moved with his parents and five siblings to London’s Ladbroke Grove at a young age. His entry into the highest echelons of the fashion press was an unorthodox one – he was spotted on the tube by a model scout at the age of 16. By 17 he was assisting i-D fashion director Beth Summers. He went on to complete a degree at Goldsmiths while juggling more modelling work and assisting on shoots. The day after his 18th birthday Enninful was appointed i-D fashion director –the youngest ever on an international publication.
Edgy elegance became his trademark and he took inspiration from the streets, forging a name for himself at the forefront of British fashion.
In 1998 he became a contributing editor to Italian Vogue, where he spearheaded the groundbreaking Black Issue featuring only black models, including Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Alek Wek. He said he wanted to end the “white-out that dominates the catwalks and magazines”. The issue was so successful that Conde Nast had to print an extra 40,000 copies.
He also styled the magazine’s infamous June 2011 cover featuring plus sized models, before in 2006 becoming contributing fashion editor for American Vogue. In 2011 he was announced as fashion and style director of W magazine, grabbing attention for riskier editorial including a March 2012 cover shoot featuring Kate Moss dressed as a nun. During his tenure the magazine’s ad pages went up 16.2 per cent.
He was awarded an OBE in 2016 for service to diversity in the fashion industry. In 2014 he scooped the prestigious Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the British Fashion Awards.
Following his appointment to British Vogue this year, Newhouse described Enninful as “an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist”. At the time of his appointment he had six times as many followers on Instagram as Shulman.