British Vogue: A change of face and change in pace

Edward Enninful’s re-direction of British Vogue and what it means for the changing fashion world.

After 25 years of Alexandra Shulman’s tight ship, a new chapter for British Vogue’s long life is about to begin with the announcement of creative director, Edward Enninful (W magazine), hired to take over as the first male editor-in-chief for the iconic British publication.

Prior to British Vogue, Enninful has worked for both i-D and W magazine, both of which contrasting Vogue’s classic style and therefore leads to question what exactly the new Editor plans for the future image of Vogue UK and whether it will break the reputation Alexandra Shulman has built over the last 25 years.

“One major advance for the new British Vogue was the launch of the magazine’s online presence on the vastly successful platform Snapchat which Enningful set in motion earlier this year.”

It is clear from Enninful’s public appearances since taking over Vogue, that he is keen to create an inviting environment for fashion. His ideal is clearly a world away from the Miranda Priestly image (Meryl Streep – The devil wears Prada) often associated with the high end, glossy magazine. The new direction of Vogue seems to equate to one reoccurring word; diversity, and with the first publication cover under Enninfuls vision revealed for this year’s December issue, it is no surprise why. The cover was revealed this week and features the highly successful British model Adwoa Aboah with the apt title ‘Great Britain’. The full magazine is set to be available for general sale on Friday 10th November 2017.

So far the new edition is said to include a 14-page photo shoot with Aboah as well as interviews with both Enniful and her on what it means to be black and British in 2017. However, Enninful is keen to reach all women with the magazine, claiming to target all races, ages, sizes and genders in his pursuit of diversity. In previous years Vogue has been highly criticised for such issues involving the types of models featured and the overall message sent to readers. The plan for less intimidation and more attainability, therefore, appears to have been craving for some time. Enninful himself started out as a model (aged 16) and has brought attention to issues of “unhealthy” model size as well as the vulnerability of young models. He claims he aims to stop the promotion of the size zero standard and offer protection for young models.


One major advance for the new British Vogue was the launch of the magazine’s online presence on the vastly successful platform Snapchat which Enningful set in motion earlier this year. Along with his ideas to shake up the printed magazine, the online world that persists to overtake print hasn’t been ignored and Vogue’s online content is predicted to grow and evolve to fit our modern needs. All these news branches create exciting hope for the future of the publication that was previously described as “irrelevant” by the recently fired Lucinda Chambers (Vogue UK stylist) and offers a fresh injection to the modern fashion industry.

Despite the positivity surrounding the recent changes to the Vogue UK, it does, however, question why it has taken so long for the fashion world to catch up to our current social climate. Surely in 2017 featuring a black model on the cover of British Vogue shouldn’t be something revolutionary, however, it is hard to ignore the fact that Enninful is the first black male to edit the magazine and offers an indication of just how eye-opening this year has been.  With Brexit, Donald Trump as the U.S president and numerous terror threats, it may be easy to assume that as a society we have taken steps backward rather than forward but these hopeful changes even just to this one magazine remind us that diversity is still celebrated and as Enninful meaningfully titled, is what makes Britain Great.

By Jasra Uddin

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