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Current British Vogue Editor Edward Enninful

November 5, 2022

Edward Enninful is the current editor-in-chief of British Vogue. He’s been in the post since 2017. He is the first male and first Black editor, and is also gay and working class. Many view his magazine as incongruent with past iterations, as he focuses on diversity, particularly featuring a lot of Black models. However, he also worships diamonds, royalty and luxury, things which Vogue has always been particularly fond. His most successful issue so far have been that guest-edited by Meghan Markle, which sold out in two weeks. One of his best was July 2020, with three different versions celebrating essential key workers.


This is the last in our series celebrating British Vogue’s editors over its history.

Edward Enninful – A Strong Work Ethic

Edward Kobina Enninful was born in February 1972 in Ghana. His mother, Grace Enninful, is a seamstress and designer, and his father, CK Enninful, a former major in the Ghanaian military. He has five siblings.


When Edward Enninful was 13, he emigrated to Britain with his family. He spent time sketching and discussing clothes with his mother. She inspired him and also accepted his “sensitive” character and sexuality. His father, meanwhile, kicked him out of home.


At the age of 16 he was discovered on the street, and became a model for i-D Magazine. From there, after hanging out with the magazine staff, he began assisting with fashion shoots. At 18 he became their fashion editor. He also earned a degree at Goldsmith’s in London. Enninful is still amazed by the turn of events. He recently explained in an interview:  “At 13, I arrive from Ghana. I don’t really know anything about England. At 16, I’m modelling. At 18, I’m editing!” He was the youngest ever fashion director for an international publication. His energy and drive must be tremendous. At iD Magazine “I was always working. I found out I love to be nonstop.”

From Ladbroke Grove to Italian Vogue


Shyamoli Varma Vogue India 2003

Ensemble Photo Archives, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Edward Enninful’s inspiration comes from his background. “I was fearless. I didn’t have any role models, anyone to show me how it was done, so I had to be.” He continues: “I had a duty to reflect the world I saw around me, growing up in Ladbroke Grove. People said it was edgy, but for me it was normal – it was literally what I saw.”


In 1998, he took the role of contributing editor at Italian Vogue, where in July 2008 he initiated a “Black Issue”, featuring only Black models. They included Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Alek Wek. It was incredibly successful, and sold out in both the US and the UK in 72 hours, leading to a reprint.


In 2006, Edward Enninful joined American Vogue as a contributing fashion editor, and in 2011 became the Style Director at W Magazine. He was credited with a big uptick in advertising, after his ideas for mildly controversial imagery – Kate Moss dressed as a nun on the cover, Nicki Minaj as a kind of 18th Century courtesan – gained press.


Alongside these posts, he’s also done lots of advertising campaigns and catwalk shows, including Gap, Beats by Dre headphones, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, Celine, Lanvin, Mulberry, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Jil Sander, Calvin Klein, Fendi, and many more.

Edward Enninful – An Influential Figure

When he was appointed editor-in-chief of British Vogue in 2017, Jonathan Newhouse, the Condé Nast International Chairman and Chief Executive said that he was “an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist”, and “by virtue of his talent and experience, Edward Enninful is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue”.


This may have been to pre-empt mutterings that Edward Enninful hasn’t got actual editorial experience, and is more of an influential stylist. One of these comments actually came form the outgoing editor Alexandra Shulman. She criticised editors who are “less magazine journalists and more celebrities or fashion personalities with substantial social media followings”. Shulman herself, of course, was a journalist. But who is to say that a journalist is better than a stylist at editing a magazine?


One of the editors who was considered the best by Condé Nast himself, who was steady, reliable, commissioned great content and put out magazines in the middle of a war, was Audrey Withers, who was neither journalist nor stylist but rose through the ranks from being a sub-editor. (Enninful published some great Vogues during the pandemic, and never dropped an issue as some magazines did). It has to be said, Enninful’s attempts at interviews are terrible: unreadably gushing. But on the flip side, he often styles the cover, with an appealingly 70s vibe. Shulman’s own covers, and her journalism, were boring. 

Digital Increase

At Vogue he has made a lot of changes. He particularly focusses on digital, and trying to make the magazine more, well, fashionable. The magazine saw a 51% increase in digital traffic since he took over.


In 2016 Edward Enninful was awarded an OBE for services to diversity in the fashion industry. He has also won a slew of other awards, including Attitude Magazine’s Man of the Year in 2018, and named 6th most powerful black man in Britain in the Powerlist 2020.



This concludes our look at the editors of British Vogue, starting back in 1916 with Elspeth Champcommunal and ending with its current incumbent, Edward Enninful. Enninful has not been the only controversial choice: Dorothy Todd was very avant-garde and essentially fired for being gay. Elizabeth “Betty” Penrose was probably having an affair with Condé Nast and probably got the job that way. Ailsa Garland was wooed away from the working class Daily Mirror’s women’s pages, and never could see eye to eye with the Vogue team, resulting in her walking out. And many, MANY people wondered what on earth Anna Wintour, with her love of skinny but muscular powerful working women, was doing in the role. Even Alexandra Shulman was never a shoo-in, as many consider she doesn’t look or dress like their idea of how a Vogue editor should look or dress.