British Vogue announces Shulman’s successor

Who is the man taking the reigns of the world’s biggest fashion publication? Polly Hatcher talks Edward Enninful. 

On the 10th April it was announced that Edward Enninful is to succeed Alexandra Shulman as editor-in-chief of British Vogue later this year. Shulman has held her position for a quarter of the magazine’s existence, a period which has marked its highest ever circulation, and the digitalisation of the publication.

After such a monumental tenure under the direction of Shulman, it would have been very easy for Condé Nast to try and find someone similar as her replacement.  This is exactly what the other potential candidates for the role (Vogue’s deputy editor Emily Sheffield, and the Financial Times’ Jo Ellison) were. This makes it particularly exciting that Enninful has got the job as he marks many firsts for British Vogue – the first man, the first non-white, and the first with a background predominantly based in style.

He was born in Ghana in February 1972, and at a young age moved to London, with his parents and five siblings. Even during his early life, he was surrounded by fashion as his mother worked as a seamstress, using vivid patterns and colours to create clothes for her British-Ghanaian friends. At the age of 16, he was spotted as a model. This career was only brief but it propelled him into the fashion world, and within two years he became fashion director at i-D, making him the youngest to hold this position at an international publication. Other career highlights include the “Black Issue” which he fronted for Italian Vogue. Featuring only black models, it was such a success that Condé Nast printed an extra 40,000 copies.

His outstanding achievements have not gone unnoticed – the British monarchy acknowledged his contribution to fashion by awarding him an OBE for his work to diversify the fashion industry in October 2016. In recent years, the print circulation of British Vogue has seen a decline, but with Enninful’s strong media presence (he has six times as many followers on Instagram than Shulman) and exciting aesthetic visions, he’s the perfect candidate to bring the publication to a whole new audience and give the magazine the breath of fresh air that it so vitally needs.

Polly Hatcher

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