Edward Enninful recalled how the first edition of his British Vogue was a “love letter to the UK”, despite facing a backlash over racism about his appointment to this role.
His stylist and editor says his “manifesto” is to create a magazine that is “inclusive and diverse, where every woman will see herself”.
Enninful was confirmed as editor-in-chief of British Vogue in April 2017, making him the magazine’s first black editor-in-chief.
In 2020, he was also appointed editorial director of Vogue Europe.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he told presenter Lauren Laverne he was surprised by racist comments directed at him after landing in the UK .
“I think I will return home (to the UK). I’ve lived in America for a while, I’m coming back home, they’re going to love me,” he said.
He says that on the contrary, he has been referred to as “the cat that got into the Crufts” as if “I’m a completely different breed”.
Even so, Enninful said he feels grateful to the UK and tried to reflect that in the first edition of British Vogue, which came out in November 2017.
“It is a love letter to the country that has embraced my family, the country that has literally given me life. So my first issue was of course a love letter to the UK,” he said.
It was a love letter to the country that had accepted my family, the country that literally gave me a life. So my first issue was of course a love letter addressed to the UK.Edward Enninful
On showing diversity in magazines, he continued: “I remember looking around at my friends and seeing that they weren’t reflected in the magazine.
“When I say my friends, I mean people of different races, religions… socioeconomic background, size, age, they are not in the magazine.
“And for me, I just thought it wasn’t even a good business, so I just wanted to create an inclusive magazine and a diversity magazine where every woman will see themselves.
“And that’s really the manifesto that I have.”
Video of the day
Enninful said he believed he would be “fired after three months” for changing his direction but “would rather (be) fired for what I believe in”.
“I really just wanted to show how amazing women are in all different guises,” he said.
Yet despite his success at the helm of the prestigious fashion magazine, he continues to face racism – including a recent incident at Vogue House, where he was mistakenly redirected. to the building’s loading area.
Enninful later shared the story on Twitter.
“It’s okay, because it keeps me steady,” he said. “That moment was very important to let the world know that I still have to face this, but I will do something about it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he discussed his parents, telling Laverne how his mother inspired his early love of fashion and, after her death, How he saw a different side of his father.
The full interview with Edward Enninful on Desert Island Disc will air on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds on Sunday at 11am.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/edward-enninful-my-first-british-vogue-was-a-love-letter-to-great-britain-42193752.html Edward Enninful: My first British Vogue was a love letter to the UK