Person of the Week: Edward Enninful
Innovative. Game-changing. Out-of-the-box thinker. All these characteristics are incorporated with Edward Enninful, British Vogue's newest Editor-in-Chief. Born in Ghana in 1972 and moved in London by age 6, he is the first male and first African-American to become Editor of British Vogue.
Inspired by his mother's seamstress skills as a child, he was found at the age of 16 by stylist Simon Foxton. Foxton help jumpstart his modeling career, which Enninful credits as his "baptism into fashion". At 17, he was introduced to Trish and Terry Jones, founder of i-D magazine, and assisted i-D fashion director Beth Summers. He earned a degree at Goldsmiths, University of London while handling his modeling career and helping with photoshoots with Foxton and Summers. By 18, he replaced Summers (who left the magazine) as fashion director, making him the youngest fashion director for an international publication. His distinct edgy elegance made him stand out against the crowd and make a name for himself.
In 1998, Enninful became a contributing editor to Italian Vogue, jumpstarting his career with Vogue. Working with the Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani and photographer Steven Meisel helped him mature as an artist and stylist. At his time with Italian Vogue, he spearheaded the production of its "Black Issue", which featured only black models such as Jourdan Dunn, Naomi Campbell, and Alek Wek. The issue was so successful that they had to print an extra 40,000 copies. He also spearheads the June 2011 cover editorial "Belle Vere", focusing on plus-sized models such as Tara Lynn, Robyn Lawley, and Candice Huffine. In 2006, he became contributing fashion editor for American Vogue, further expanding his versatility and abilities in his work. By April 2011, Enninful took over as fashion and style-director of W magazine. Under his direction, W took several risks in their spreads, such as singer Nicki Minaj dolled up as a 18th-century French courtesan. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 Birthday Honours for his services to adding diversity in the fashion industry.
His most recent success was his confirmation as the new editor-in-chief of British Vogue on April 10th. Current international chairman Condé Nast and chief executive Jonathan Newhouse made the announcement, claiming Enninful as "an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist." This trailblazer sets a great example for bringing representation to both African-Americans and males, both of whom historically have not been giving equal treatment in the fashion industry. This success is well deserved, and I look forward to reading his future work in British Vogue!
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