Styling an Era: The Story of Edward Enninful

From the street style of Ladbroke Grove to the fantastical creations of Manhattan's W Magazine. Meet the UK's greatest stylist and a champion for greater diversity in fashion.

Edward Enninful PortraitOriginal Source: Edward Enninful


Edward Enninful started young. He was spotted by a modelling scout at the age of 16, he was i-D magazine’s fashion director by the age of 18 and by the time he was in his 20’s he was a contributing editor for Italian & US Vogue. All a far cry from the career as a lawyer that he was planning on as a teenager. His edgy elegance and reinvention of street style are at the heart of his unmistakeable style. Edward Enninful was part of the new guard of 90’s innovators and fashion creatives that came to define the decade. He is a champion of greater diversity in fashion and was the driving force behind Italian Vogue's Black Issue. Today, Edward Enninful is the fashion and design editor for W Magazine and one of the world's most in demand stylists.

Edward Enninful - Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator - British Fashion Awards 2014British Fashion Council

In 2014, Edward Enninful won the Isabella Blow Award for outstanding creativity in fashion. In 2016, he would go on to be awarded an OBE for his services to diversity in British fashion.

Super Normal Super Models, W Magazine, September 2014 (2014) by Edward EnninfulOriginal Source: Edward Enninful


Edward Enninful was born in Ghana but moved to Ladbroke Grove with his parents & five siblings when he was young. His mother worked as a seamstress, and inspired him with the vividly patterned colours and fabrics she used while creating clothing for her British-Ghanaian friends.

As a teenager he wanted to be a lawyer and his parents encouraged him to do well at school before going to University. However, a chance encounter with the stylist Simon Foxton on a train led to Edward working as a model at the age of 16 – an experience that Edward would later describe as "a baptism of fire"

Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, i-D Magazine, August 1994 (1994) by Edward EnninfulOriginal Source: Edward Enninful

i-D Magazine

Whilst working as a model he was introduced to Terry & Tricia Jones of i-D magazine who encouraged him to work at the magazine and assist the Fashion Director Beth Summers.

Edward would juggle a degree at Goldsmith College, working at i-D magazine and modelling. When Summers left i-D magazine Terry Jones would offer Edward her position at the age of 18. He would be the youngest Fashion Director of an international magazine ever.

Soon, Edward Enninful became known for his edgy elegance, which quickly became his trademark. Much of his inspiration came from the streets. "We British have to customize our clothes, we have to be more creative, informing who you are—and I am still obsessed with the streets."

i-D Magazine. The 30th Birthday Issue, No. 308, Pre-Fall 2010. The Outrage Issue, No. 171, December 1997. The World Class Issue, No. 174, April 1998., Photography Nick Knight, Styling Nicola Formichetti, Photography David Sims, Styling Edward Enninful, Photography Mark Mattock, From the collection of: British Fashion Council
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God Save The Queen, i-D Magazine, June 2002 (2002) by Edward EnninfulOriginal Source: Edward Enninful


Edward Enninful was part of the new guard of 90’s innovators and fashion creatives that came to define the decade.

At the age of 22 he styled the famous Calvin Klein adverts that have become so iconic and was friends with Corinne Day, Juergen Teller, Kate Moss & Mark Lebon. Today, this group of friends have become some of the most important and respected figures in global fashion.

Edward was at the heart of taking the grunge movement and turning it from a Seattle based scene into a global movement. The looks he featured in his stories fuelled the fascination with grunge during the 1990s and helped define the aesthetic of the decade.

Makeover Madness, Vogue Italia, July 2005 (2005) by Edward EnninfulOriginal Source: Edward Enninful


The next stage of Edward Enninful’s career would lead to him working for Italian Vogue. In 1998, he became a contributing editor to Italian Vogue.

According to Edward, working with Italian Vogue's editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani and photographer Steven Meisel helped him to mature as a stylist: "I always say that I was a London stylist but when I worked with Steven, I became a proper stylist."

Naomi Campbell, Vogue Italia, July 2008 (2008) by Edward EnninfulOriginal Source: Edward Enninful


At Italian Vogue, Edward Enninful spearheaded the production of its 'Black Issue', which featured only black models, including Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Alek Wek. Edward described his intentions as wanting to end the "white-out that dominates the catwalks and magazines". The issue was so successful that Condé Nast had to print an extra 40,000 copies. The 'Black Issue' remains Italian Vogue's best selling edition to this day.

Edward Enninful PortraitOriginal Source: Edward Enninful


In 2006 Edward Enninful became contributing editor for US Vogue after being recommended and supported by the famous stylist Grace Coddington.

Edward Enninful cites Anna Wintour as one of his inspirations and the most talented editor that he has ever worked with.

Rihanna, W Magazine, September 2016 (2016) by Edward EnninfulOriginal Source: Edward Enninful

Rhianna on the cover of W Magazine's September 2016 edition. Styled by Edward Enninful and photographed by Steven Klein.

Kate Moss, W Magazine, March 2012 (2012) by Edward EnninfulOriginal Source: Edward Enninful


In 2011, Edward Enninful would become fashion and style editor for W magazine. At the time the magazine was in mid-turn around and was struggling to make an impact in fashion.

Edward Enninful brought huge credibility, innovation and a much riskier approach to the magazine. One of his most famous covers at W Magazine had Kate Moss dressed in a nun's habit. This cover caused controversy and soaring sales in equal measure.

Fierce Creatures, W Magazine, August 2012 (2012) by Edward EnninfulOriginal Source: Edward Enninful


In 2016, Nick Knight directed SHOWstudio's film 'The Seven Deadly Sins of Edward Enninful.' This film honours 25 years of fashion by Edward Enninful and features the models Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Mariacarla Boscono, Karlie Kloss, Jourdan Dunn, Lara Stone, Karen Elson, and Anna Ewers as the seven deadly sins. The film was a collaboration with the 'Beats' audio brand.

W Magazine Interview with Stylist & Editor Edward Enninful (2014) by Edward EnninfulBritish Fashion Council

"A stylists’ roles extend beyond the minute. We have to look a season ahead, two seasons ahead… it’s basically like fortune telling.”
Edward Enninful, OBE

Fashioning the Future with British Icons (2016-12-04)British Fashion Council

In April 2017 British Vogue announced Enninful as the next Editor in Chief, assuming the role from August 1st 2017.

The position adds to the long list of accolades that Enninful has recieved throughout his career. Which include the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the 2014 British Fashion Awards followed by an OBE in October 2016.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the British Fashion Council in collaboration with Edward Enninful.

All models and photographers have been credited where known.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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