Edward Enninful, W’s New Fashion and Style Director talks W’s New Direction And Being Black in Fashion

This weekend, the Huffington Post published an interview with W‘s new fashion and style director, Edward Enninful. The 38-year old fashion vet (he’s been in the game since age 16!) had lots to say about his plans for the glossy, and the ever-controversial discussion of fashion’s attitude towards people of color.

You may have noticed recent print advertisements for W, declaring it “fashion’s after party” as a way to rebrand the mag. Enninful explains the idea behind the new slogan:

I think that everyone wants to be part of an after-party. One of the things people enjoy is having fun, you always want to be a part of it. That’s the first thing. And we hope that W is that. I think it makes fashion fun, wearable, accessible.

The slogan is pretty genius, as it sets W apart from other fashion mags. It reads like W is fashion’s cool auntie who is not afraid to get down from her tower and connect with us regular folk. This is a great way to rebrand the magazine, especially in this new age of blogging where everything is about accessibility. Well played, W.

When asked about the lacking presence of people of color in the fashion industry, he expressed a sense of urgency when it comes to inclusion:

You know, I look around the industry, there’s still very few black people. The American fashion industry really has had to reassess its approach to fashion, particularly because Obama came into office. You know, for one of the most influential women [First Lady Michelle Obama] in the country to be black. I know that meant a great deal to a lot of black people in the fashion industry. And also now we have Twitter, we have the internet, and I’ve seen so many young black people who are involved in fashion. They’re making their own clothes, they’re styling, they’re taking photographs, and I guess the future generation to come, they’re all racing to become one global fashion industry. That’s what I hope, anyway.

Mr. Enninful seems to have a grasp on the potential of blacks bubbling on the periphery. With people of color actively participating in fashion, what will it take to further incorporate us into the larger industry? It appears he is politely pointing out that there’s a lot of talent and activity not being taken advantage of, and it needs to be brought to the forefront through mediums like W. He attributes the problem of having so few POC in fashion to a lack of education on the majority’s part:

I feel that it’s all about education. The best photographers know how to light any color skin. If you’re good at styling, it’s like the first time, you know how to dress any body shape. I think if you’re really good at what you do, you can see outside the box… It depends on the level of vision a person has.

Sounds like some of these designers, makeup artists, stylists, etc need to get their game up!

Grace Coddington, Creative Director US Vogue, and Edward Enninful

We hope that he will use his position as style editor of W to create a more inclusive fashion narrative, especially for people of color. If W really wants to embody its slogan as fashion’s after-party, it’s going to have to fully grasp the things that Enninful talks about, and make strides to introduce changes to the institution as a whole.

What do you guys think? Are you feelin’ the new slogan? Was Enninful being completely honest about his views on blacks in fashion?

Check out the rest of the interview at Huffington Post


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