When you hear the name Edward Enniful, what comes to mind is a wizened English man, drinking tea and writing furiously in his half-lit study. This Edward Enniful is, however as African as it gets, a Ghanaian who happens to be the first black editor of British Vogue.
On the inside of this publication, the editor speaks to Guardian on the covert operation that was guest editing with the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle on the celebrated September Issue for Vogue Magazine.
“Every single day we were having secret meetings in my office. We were just grateful for each day that went by without a leak.
“When the magazine came out, I spoke to everybody we’d kept in the dark, explaining that it wasn’t personal. But I understood that the fewer people who knew, the better. For the people in the know, they couldn’t even tell their partners. Having to keep it quiet like that didn’t compare to anything I’d done before.”
The product of that collaboration brought about the most diverse list of women Vogue’s September issue had ever seen. Speaking on the backlash and criticism they received on the selection, Edward says it was more than just racism.
“Actually it was more than racism. I thought it was personal – attacking someone you don’t know, attacking her.”
Enninful also spoke on his childhood and heritage as Ghanaian and his first introduction to fashion by his mother
“When we lived in Ghana, my mother had been busy making clothes for everyone in high society. But once we got to London it went to another level. I was her favourite – a sensitive creature, the gay one. We were always sketching together, and I learned how to construct clothes,” he says.
“I learned my sense of colours from her. I learned to build characters. We would ask: ‘What kind of woman wears this dress?’” he explains. “I think that’s what’s made me a bit different from other stylists. I have to know the woman, put her in a location, know her character, her inner life. If I don’t have a character, I can’t style.”
Catch the full feature on theguardian.com
Photo editors: @huntforcaroline @kateedwa @lousiroy
Grooming Ian: @champsbarbers
By Sarah Oyedo