Oprah x British Vogue

Dear Mr Enninful I love what you’ve done with the place!

In his maiden editor’s letter; Edward Enninful promised Vogue UK would be the fashion bible. Make no mistake about that. It was a ballsy letter to the reader but also one that acknowledged the need for fashion in its entirety. Before Enninful was made chief of Vogue UK, Alexandra Shulman was at is helm for twenty five years, for much of those years,  her disconnect was glaring, painfully obvious with every issue that often talked up exploits of her cabal of sloanites and showed very little in relation to Britain; its fashion, culture or identity. British Vogue under Shulman had become stale and incredibly pedestrian. It needed a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective. Enninful has proven to be just that. Cover after cover, but more important content after content, he recognised the need for fashion to be all encompassing and understood the role in which fashion plays in the lives of her audience. Fashion extends beyond clothes and accessories, it is an identity, representative of cultures and the way we see ourselves and the world sees us. Fashion can uplift and inspire, it forces a dialogue and pushes the bar. It forces inclusivity that should be the norm and it calls out those who choose to stay stuck in the mud of the past.

Enninful’s vogue is representation of the Britain of today, the one I know and have grown up in. Where diversity and inclusivity of all races, genders, creed and religion is represented. The Britain whose national meal is an Indian curry, being in Peckham is like being back in Lagos because people around you speak Yoruba like it’s a national language, going home from clubbing on the night bus and your first stop is the kebab shop. Alongside the Britain which exists in the upper echelons of Sloane Square and Chelsea, the designer flanked Bond Street and Knightsbridge- none of that is lost, this Vogue is simply more representative of Britain on both sides. It is fun, fearless and bold without being gimmicky. It is a representation of Great Britain, its many tones and hues, from the south London to the west end, upper country back to Essex, this is Britain; a society where Black and Brown exists alongside White. And though our stories are still being discovered, here is a platform that includes us and speaks for us, celebrates our accomplishment and inspiring stories; be it in sports, movies, music, or human rights. A Britain that exists beyond the atypical industry standard whiteness, the rich and high fashion. It doesn’t feel forced, it feels real and relative. This Vogue is talking to the college student alongside the fashion retail assistant, the 9 to 5 to the stay at home mom, race, age, religion regardless. What I love most about this, besides the fashion, are the stories of people, every day people doing extraordinary things, famous people with substance and the feeling that we are hanging with friends…

Mad props to where it’s due; this is a switch from the stagnant Vogue of back in the day. Today in 2018, in an industry that is still overwhelmingly white, skinny and young, is a sixty-four years old Black woman on the cover of the most influential magazine in the world. This speaks volumes, this is not merely for fashion sake, it speaks to all young Black girls everywhere; it says we too matter, our stories matter, our successes matter, in this arena that for years has shut us out, we matter, we are seen and are being heard. This is beyond. The industry is a long, long, LONG way away from getting it right but we hope with one stiletto at a time, change will come. This Vogue is fashion in a way fashion should be fashion: be representative and all inclusive, beyond the threads of a garment and soles of shoes, it reaches deep into society beyond the ascribed and expected. This is the work of a fiercely good editor, one who understands not just the fashion industry but the climate of the society outside of the fashion industry which in turn informs the industry; it takes a good editor to get that, a brilliant  one to interpret that. An editor that understands heads cannot stay stuck in the sand and there is so much more to British fashion that Kate Moss. No offence, Mossy. Fashion is supposed to tap into that and with each and every issue, Edward Enninful proves just that. With this cover and incredible content, it does just that and more. Here is hoping it never stops.

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