Last night, I watched a I’ve seen maybe a half a million times before, The September Issue. But this time, I noticed something different, a gentleman with a British accent wearing all black, referred to as “Edward” by The Great Lady (AKA Anna Wintour). Could it be that all these years I never realized that he was (drum roll please), Edward Enninful, the same man who has just taken the helm at British Vogue?
Yes it could be.
There’s a scene just after Edward has left Anna’s office where he’s practically in tears, and Grace Coddington says, “Don’t be too nice, because you’ll lose. You have to beat your way through.” I’ve seen that scene before, and every time, I would say to myself, “one day, when I work at Vogue, I won’t be that sort of guy; I’m going to survive in this industry.” Of course, now I feel like the greatest fool, but in my defense, I’m not the only one, because in an article about Coddington published in the Guardian in 2012, he is simply referred to as “a colleague.” To an outsider, he didn’t look like he was going to survive, but that just goes to show you that documentaries only show you part of the story because by that time he had worked at multiple fashion publications and been a long time friend of the likes of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell (with whom he attended his OBE ceremony last year).
Enninful, as many know, has been in the fashion world since the age of 16, when he was model scouted on a subway (tube?) in London, but by 18, he had become an editor at i-D magazine. He, unlike his American counterpart, Anna Wintour, or predecessor, Alex Schulman, was not born into a publishing family. In fact, he was born in Ghana and moved to London with his parents and five siblings as a child. His parents were working class, and he became interested in clothing when he saw his mother, a seamstress, dying traditional Ghanaian clothing.
Obviously, unlike many of the editors at British Vogue, he does not come from an aristocratic line, signalling a shift in the style of British Vogue. In the last issue alone, which was actually heralded by Fashion Features editor, Sarah Harris (Enninful’s first issue will be the December issue, which will hit stands on November 12), showcased (not necessarily advertised) many high street buys as opposed to the normal reliance on high fashion. In the last few years, brands like Zara and Forever 21 have used silhouettes and patterns seen on the runway, but Vogue rarely features those companies in their buying suggestions This new British Vogue, with Enninful at the helm, could make fashion magazines accessible again.
Though I don’t know exactly what will be featured in the new issue of Vogue, I do know it will be different – Enninful is the first male editor-in-chief of Vogue, not to mention the first black fashion editor-in-chief of a major English fashion publication. I, like the rest of the industry, am excited to see what will happen.
(Some of my favorite Edward Enninful styled shoots)