In the 100 year history of Vogue Magazine, they have named their first Black Editor-In-Chief…..and it’s a man. 45 year-old EDWARD ENNINFUL was just named as the Editor-In-Chief of British Vogue, replacing Alexandra Shulman who stepped down in January, after holding that post for 25 years.
Edward Kobina Enninful was born in Ghana and moved to London at a very young age with his parents and five siblings. His mother, a seamstress. made clothes for her British/Ghanian friends and inspired Edward by way of her “wildly patterned colors and fabric.” He was discovered by British fashion czar Simon Fox on a train and later by a model scout at 16 years-old. Edward shot with famed fashion photographer Nick Knight weeks later. Describing his brief modeling career as his “Baptism in Fashion,” the young fashion star finished college and graduated from Goldsmiths University in London, and, started assisting on fashion shoots before becoming Fashion Director at ID Magazine at the tender age of 18 years-old – a position he held for two decades. Edward became Fashion and Style Director at W Magazine after working as a Contributing Editor for several fashion publications like Italian Vogue, American Vogue and did Advertising and Consulting for other outlets. He’s the recipient of several awards including one of England’s highest honors, The OBE (Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth 11.
His work with Vogue Italia on the legendary ‘Black Issue’ under the late Franca Sozzani and Stephen Meisel as photographer, was a history making collaboration. They had to re-print 40,000 additional copies of the magazine, because of the massive demand. Enninful, talking to W Magazine on his career trajectory, said: “Coming from a family who put a lot of emphasis on academics, I always thought I was going to be a lawyer.” On his own personal style, he told W, “When I was really young, I had an Afro and wore pressed jeans and argyle sweaters. In my teens I moved up to white T-shirts, Levi jeans and cowboy boots.”
Edward is constantly inspired by friends and commented on his famous friends; Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss – “It’s very hard to find people who can inspire you for such a long time and whose company you enjoy. This is what makes them muses rather than just beautiful women. When you’re with Kate, you want to be around her all day, all night. Same with Naomi. They’re funny but they’re also strong businesswomen…..plus, Naomi has a memory like an elephant, she remembers everything,” he laughed.
Edward also revealed what could be classified as a secret to his success by having no regrets. He told W Magazine: “I’ve learnt to put a big value on having a life outside of fashion, and I think that’s what saved me, because the fashion industry can suck you in.”
Bethann Hardison, New York fashion maven and noted advocate for equality in the fashion industry, who is a friend of Enninful, and has also worked with him on several projects, said she received an e-mail from Jonathan Newhouse, CEO Conde Nast’s International Empire, in London, giving her a heads-up on Edward’s appointment. “I was very moved by him telling me this, before it hit the press. It was an honor for me to get that e-mail. That said, I see this appointment as two-fold. Edward is quite capable, he’s a fashion insider. I wrote about him being a male, I played up the the gender more than the color. He’s so well grounded and experienced for many, many years. He superseeded his many white counterparts for this job. It’s a situation where your work stands out and it’s not because of his color. Having to go to British Vogue is just a part of his journey. It’s now a legacy.” Bethann continued: “He wrote me a note yesterday saying, this is good for us all. He’s just talented, and, we look forward to what he has to come. We are all very proud, and now he has a professional team with him, we can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”
Italian designer Donatella Versace said she’s secretly attracted to Enninful. “Edward is so beautiful and attractive man. He has this sexy, deep look, I am very upset that he is gay, but don’t tell him.”
By Walter Greene