Exposing Edward Enninful: A Fashion Editor, An African Man, Behind…
Edward Enninful born in Ghana but raised in London, is one of the most influential fashion editors in the world. Former editor of i-D magazine, current editor of W magazine, and longtime former contributor to AmericanVogue and Italian Vogue; his editorials are known for their polish, worldly aesthetic and and above all exquisite taste.
With a completely circumstantial start in fashion, at the age of 16 Enninful was spotted on the London tube by photographer Nick Knight and asked to model for i-D magazine. Effectively launching his modeling career, Enninful was a regular at i-D and was soon introduced to founders Terri and Trish Jones. Soon after this introduction, he began assisting i-D fashion director Beth Summers and stylist Simon Foxton, while modeling and earning a degree at Goldsmiths, University of London. After a little over
a year of assisting, Enninful was made fashion director when Beth Summers left the magazine a few weeks after his 18th birthday. Making him the youngest fashion director of an international publication ever.
Quickly his styling was recognized for paying homage to the street style of Londoners, with an air of edgy elegance. His fashion stories fueling the grunge movement that swept the fashion industry in the 90′s, “It” girlslike Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista were at his disposal. Also rising along Enninful at i-D, was now famed makeup artist Pat McGrath. Her work with color in conjunction with the grunge shoots creatively directed by Enninful were groundbreaking, and helped position i-D as an international force to be reckoned with. i-D represented “all things” sub culture and artistic; becoming a manual for the artists, trendsetters and tastemakers around the world.
In 1998 Enninful began contributing to Italian Vogue. A chance to work with fashion giants Franca Sozzani and Steven Meisel, it signified his arrival amongst fashion elite. Creating powerful imagery at Italian vogue; most notably he contributed to the infamous Italian Vogue “Black Issue” in 2008 that sold out around the world, and forced condenast to re-print an additional 40,000 copies. He directed the Italian vogue “Black Allure” shoot in 2011, which showcased the worlds top “up and coming” black models in luxurious, elegant, 20′s and 30′s themed gowns and accessories. In 2011 he also did a beautiful and sensual spread with three stunning plus size models, showing the world how high fashion larger models could be. In 2005 American Vogue invited Enninful to contribute to the iconic publication. While there he was able to work with the incredible Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour on shoots like “We Are The World” shot by Steven Meisel, where he showacased the top Asian, Black, African, Spanish and Caucasian models in a wildly luxurious shoot. His ability to create elaborate sets and add a richness to everything he touched defined his style.
While juggling styling for i-D, American Vogue and Italian vogue; Enninful was also contracted to handle advertising campaigns and runways shows for Christian Dior, Commes des Garcons, Hugo Boss, Missoi, H&M, Calvin Klein, Fendi and many more. All incredibly lucrative campaigns that are only rotated between the top stylists in the world. Then in 2011, he became
the fashion director at W magazine replacing Alex White. Which also signified the end of his very long contributor relationship with both Italian vogue and American vogue. As said in an interview with Hilary Moss, the style news editor for the Huffington Post, his approach to his new position would be to bring “Reflection”, “Projection” and “Documentation”
to the magazine (Hilary Moss: A Conversation with W’s Edward Enninful, The Huffington Post).
Edward Enninful is a true visionary, and one that all Ghanaians and Africans should be proud of. In addition to his beautifully executed fashion editorials, Mr.Enninful has always featured Black and African models in his shoots. Determined to subtly advance the careers of many brown skin beauties through his diligent and consistent use of of them at the various
publications he works with, he truly represents an editor with a global vision. Creator of breathtaking imagery, Mr. Enninful is undoubtedly one of the most important stylists of our time.
More of Enninful’s work: