When veteran stylist and creative director Edward Enninful took the helm at British Vogue last December, he became the first black editor in its 101-year history. He promised readers “an old friend with a fresh face; a modern refresh that feels feminine, chic and ultimately classic.”
As he wrote in his first editor’s letter for the magazine:
This is a country built on tradition, but—much like fashion—one that is forever changing. The time seemed right to redefine what Vogue can mean today. To open it up.
We are also diverse. I hope you will be as gratified as I am to note how many of the amazing names featured on these pages didn’t necessarily begin their lives here, or were perhaps born into families who immigrated here a generation or two ago (like my own). Regardless of where they were born or how they got here, however, they all share huge pride in their homeland, with an outlook that is pleasingly global.
For Enninful, putting a fresh face on a well-established magazine meant infusing it with much-needed diversity—starting with his very first cover, which featured biracial British model Adwoa Aboah (pictured in the first cover image, left). In the year since, Enninful, who notably helmed both Italian Vogue’s still-coveted Black Issue in 2008 and pushed the magazine to do a highly touted 2011 cover spread using exclusively fuller-figured models, has made good on his promise, including more women of color on British Vogue covers in 2018 than his American counterpart, and maintaining a diversity of bodies within its pages.
Enninful was honored with a 2016 Order of the British Empire for his work in promoting diversity within the fashion industry, and he is continuing to do the hard work of inclusivity through British Vogue. For his first anniversary, he’s created four December covers which prove that beauty spans ages and races—including supermodel-on-the-rise Adut Akech’s first solo cover for the magazine: a welcome new standard of beauty for black girls everywhere.
So as we continue to celebrate the wave of black and brown beauty rising to the covers of previously whitewashed magazines, let’s also give praise to those with a seat at the table who make it possible.
Happy Anniversary, Edward Enninful!
And thank you.