– By Angelo Thomas
What a dramatic year it’s been for the fashion, with many prominent editors and designers exiting the industry. One of the biggest surprises however, came from across the pond, when Alexandra Shulman announced that she would be stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, after 25 years at the helm of one of Condé Nast’s most profitable publications. Many people were equally surprised when it was announced that Edward Enninful, formerly of American Vogue and later W magazine, would be taking over as the publication’s new editor.
Since the announcement, Edward has made it clear that his Vogue would be new and different. For starters, he brought in a veritable team of contributors, including the incredibly talented Grace Coddington, former Creative Director of American Vogue, as well as supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, star casting director, Ashley Brokow to handle bookings, and Venetia Scott as Fashion Director. No one knew for sure what to expect from Enninful’s new Vogue, other than those directly involved, and the teasers that were released on Instagram.
Today, Edward unveiled his first cover for the title, starring British model Adwoa Aboah and lensed by legendary photographer, Steven Meisel, with the tag line “Great Britain.” This is a ground breaking cover for British Vogue, who has shied away from featuring ethnically diverse subjects on it’s cover, under the reign of Alexandra Shulman. Having Adwoa Aboah, both a model of color and who can sometimes be androgynous, on the cover of his very first issue, sends a strong signal that the tides are changing.
Over the summer, Naomi Campbell stirred some controversy, when she posted an image to Instagram, showing the magazine’s staff under Shulman, with the caption “This is the staff photo of @britishvogue under the previous editor #AlexandraSchulman. Looking forward to an inclusive and diverse staff now that @edward_enninful is the editor.” That single post exploded in the media and sparked a debate about race in the fashion industry and the role of magazines in that conversation.
From the text on the cover of the issue, it appears that Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn, Kate Moss, Steve McQueen, Victoria Beckham, Zayn malik, Christopher Bailey, and Millie Bobby Brown, among many others, will be making appearances in the first issue. If that isn’t a wonderful portrayal of diversity and reflective of the United Kingdom today, then I don’t know what is.