When news that long-time British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Schulman stepped down last January, many wondered who would succeed her. Just recently, Condé Nast International chairman and chief executive Jonathan Newhouse announced that Edward Enninful, "an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood, and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist" will take the helm, and added that "by virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue."
Below, we listed five things you should know about Edward.
1. He is the first male to become EIC in the 100-year history of British Vogue.
While many fashion insiders cheered for his appointment (as he is one of the top contenders for the job,) it still came as a surprise to the rest of the world. Many expected a seasoned female staffer to take the reigns at Britain's top fashion magazine, but we are again reminded that gender assignments and preferences should not be a determinant for one's career advancement. Case in point: Esquire Philippines, a men's magazine, is led by a woman.
2. He is considered a prodigy.
The 45-year-old was born in Ghana, raised in London, and moved to New York to build a career. He was first scouted as a model at 16 years old, and later on met i-D founders Trish and Terry Jones. This led to his promotion as Fashion Director at the ripe age of 18, a position he held for two decades.
3. He is vastly experienced and a known image-maker.
Edward has worked for a number of fashion magazines, namely Vogue Italia, American Vogue, and W Magazine. His stay at W Magazine saw a great overturn on the business side as he helped boost the ad pages by 16% in 2012.
4. He was awarded one of the highest recognitions in the world of fashion.
Apart from receiving the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the 2014 British Fashion Awards, in 2016 Queen Elizabeth II acknowledged his talent and contribution towards diversity and made him an OBE or Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
5. He is an advocate of diversity and change in the industry.
IMAGE Vogue Italia
Edward was widely known for his work with Vogue Italia's 2008 Black Issue, that featured all-black models like Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell. It was so successful that Conde Nast had to print an extra 40,000 copies. Quoting Edward from an article by The Guardian, he muses, “If you put one model in a show or in an ad campaign, that doesn’t solve the problem.... It’s very easy to say, ‘Oh, there’s one black model in a show and one black or Asian model in an advertising photograph, so we’ve filled the quota.’ No, it should be a continuous conversation. It shouldn’t even be an issue as far as I’m concerned. Beauty’s beauty."
And with his appointment at British Vogue, it looks like we're on the verge of a major breakthrough in the fashion world. Under Alexandra's tenure, she found strength in words, but we're looking forward to Edward's vision to be translated into powerful images that will surely shake up the pages of Vogue.
Edward will start his new post on August 1.