Edward Enninful: ‘I’m proud of what we did at British Vogue’

After six years of editing British Vogue, Edward Enninful is moving on. Here, the magazine's first black and male editor speaks with ITV News Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda about how he tried to break the mould during his time in charge

Few people in the UK, maybe even the world, are as "in the know" as Edward Enninful.

As Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, he’s got his finger on the fashion pulse and so much more. Every decision he and his team at the magazine make affects the cultural zeitgeist.

But after more than six years steering one of the most coveted ships in the industry, Edward is stepping down. His sendoff is one worthy of a man of his influence.

40 Vogue Icons Remember Edward Enninful's British Vogue

March 2024 marks Edward’s final edition of British Vogue and so he brought together 40 stars from throughout his tenure to grace the cover once more.

Here is a list of just some of the people he got in the same place at the same time for the once-in-a-lifetime shot: Simone Ashley, Victoria Beckham, Selma Blair, Naomi Campbell, Gemma Chan, Jodie Comer, Laverne Cox, Cindy Crawford, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevingne …

Pause of breath...

Jourdan Dunn, Cynthia Erivo, Linda Evangelista, Jane Fonda, Kaia Gerber, Gigi Hadid, Salma Hayek, Maya Jama, Jameela Jamil, Karlie Kloss, Dua Lipa, Kate Moss, Lila Moss, Rina Sawayama, Irina Shayk, Anya Taylor-Joy, Christy Turlington, Serena Williams and Oprah.

In an exclusive sit-down interview, I asked Edward how he managed to get so many famous faces under the same roof and he chuckles: "I personally emailed everyone and I was thinking we might get five or ten and literally everyone said yes. I was so shocked, elated and happy." It’s telling as to just how respected and adored Edward is by those in high places.

The LEGENDARY Vogue cover photo. Credit: Steven Meisel

The final edition is Edward’s 76th in the role of editor-in-chief. As well as featuring the big stars like Beyonce, Dame Judi Dench and Taylor Swift since 2017, he has also done his best to break the mould.  He and his team shone a light on frontline workers, putting them on the cover of the high-fashion magazine during the pandemic. There was an activism edition during the Black Lives Matter Movement. More recently the May 2023 issue featured five disabled talents, and the magazine was sold in Braille. 

Edward believes that "when people are included, when people see themselves, they can relate. Because of that we have whole new readers, whole new revenue streams and it showed that inclusivity was also good business. When I started, people were saying diversity equals downmarket, and British Vogue showed that actually it as the opposite." I want to know if he thinks the changes he’s introduced will continue despite him stepping down. "I hope that the ethos continues," he replies, "but I always say, now the real work begins behind the scenes, behind the cameras, in studios around the world. That needs to be the conversation that will make sure that diversity and inclusion still carries on."

Baz Luhrmann, Anna Wintour and Edward Enninful attending the Vogue World: London show at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London, 2023. Credit: PA

Edward is moving on to a new role as Vogue’s Global Creative and Cultural Advisor, though he is still tipped to take over from Vogue head honcho Anna Wintour in the future.  He leaves his current role with a wealth of experience, having previously had jobs at I-D magazine, Italian Vogue, American Vogue and W magazine.  Fashion and style is in his blood, but he didn’t seem to want to answer my question: "Who is the most stylish person in the UK right now?" "That is quite a question - I am going to be killed if I answer it. There are too many to mention. I love how the UK embraces individuality, I really like people with a sense of personal style. If you have personal style, to me, you are stylish."

Vogue cover shoot photo featuring some of the 40 chosen stars. Credit: Ned Rogers

With a contact book that most people would pass out at the sight of, it’s only right to ask Edward who he’d call on in certain situations.1. Need a restaurant recommendation? "I would phone Naomi (Campbell)"

2. Need a model at a moment’s notice? "Someone like Vittoria Ceretti"

3. Who picks up the phone no matter what? "Oprah"

4. You become a singer, who gets your demo first? "Jimmy Iovine"

5. Who do you call for fashion advice? "My friends, but they always find something wrong. It’s good to have honest friends."

The March issue of British Vogue is available via digital download and on newsstands from February 13.

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