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British Vogue appoints ex-i-D and W fashion director Edward Enninful as first black male editor

British Vogue appoints Edward Enninful as editor

In a surprise move, British Vogue has hired an external candidate as its editor - magazine fashion director Edward Enninful - following the departure of its longest-serving editor Alexandra Shulman in January this year.

Enninful, who will take up the role on 1 August, will become British Vogue's first black editor, and first male editor, in its over 100-year history.

He joins from American magazine W, where he has served as creative and fashion director since 2011.

He joined the world of fashion in 1991 when he was named fashion director of British title i-D (now owned by Vice) at the age of 19, a position he held for more than 20 years. In the years between 1998 and 2011 he contributed to both American Vogue and Italian Vogue, under its late editor, Franca Sozzani.

Vogue has a tradition of promoting from within for its senior editorial roles, including sending editors from the American issue to steer the British edition.

Examples of editors who have risen the ranks of British Vogue to take the top spot include Elizabeth Penrose, Audrey Withers, Anna Wintour, Elizabeth Tilberis and most recently Alexandra Shulman, who joined Vogue as features editor in 1988.

An internal announcement to staff sent by Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International, describes Enninful as "an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist".

Interestingly, the publisher saw fit to trumpet Enninful's ethnicity over his achievements in the announcement of his appointment.

Vogue has been guilty of diversity mis-steps in recent years. Last year a Vogue Brazil campaign to boost interest in the Paralympic Games was called out for altering images of able-bodied models to give them disabilities.

In February the magazine came under fire for running a photoshoot in its diversity issue in which model Karlie Kloss appeared as a Japanese geisha. The Japanese-inspired spread formed part of the magazine’s March edition which intended to celebrate the diversity of the “modern American woman”. Kloss later apologised for participating in the shoot, which she admitted did "appropriate a culture that is not my own".

Enninful was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth last year, and in 2014 was named fashion creator of the year by the British Fashion Council. He was born in Ghana and emigrated to London as a child.

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