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Why is Edward Enninful editing Vogue? Fawning coverage fails to ask a vital question

(Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion)

(Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion)


September 6, 2022   6 mins

Why are the models so thin? Why are the clothes so expensive? And what is the point of fashion? These were questions I had to answer pretty much every day for the decade I worked as a fashion journalist, and the same is true for every other person who works in the industry. Except one.

Fashion is generally seen as a frivolous and simultaneously dangerous industry, populated by airheaded Marie Antoinette-like characters wearing £10,000 hats, and malevolent figures intent on spreading eating disorders across the land. Over the years, I offered up various arguments in fashion’s favour: it’s a billion-dollar industry, it reflects the culture around us, everyone gets dressed and therefore engages with fashion on some level, and it is populated by hugely ambitious and successful women.

None made much difference, and the high-ranking women within the fashion industry — Anna Wintour, Isabella Blow, Donatella Versace — were snickered at as cartoonish stereotypes. It often struck me that the journalists who covered film (in which enormous expenditures and egos are the norm) or sport (hello, unattainable perfect physiques) never had to begin their articles by justifying their industry. Was this, perhaps, because fashion — unlike film and sport — is largely for women, and one of the last bastions of journalism dominated by women? Or did the fault lie with fashion itself?

I’ve been pondering these questions again over the past week as I’ve read the adulatory press around Edward Enninful, the editor of British Vogue for the past five years and Vogue‘s European editorial director for the past two. Enninful’s memoir, A Visible Man, is being published today, and it comes festooned with quotes from Salman Rushdie and Kate Moss (“What fun!”) The reviews have been determinedly positive, albeit in a glass-half-full kind of way (“Happily his book is better than his interviews” – The Times). He scored the double whammy last weekend of being the cover interview for The Sunday Times Magazine (“How Edward Enninful became the king of fashion”) and The Observer Magazine (“The most important man in fashion”).

He is, as all the press has taken pains to stress, the first black and gay editor of British Vogue. He is also — although this has been less commented upon — the first man.

Coverage of Enninful has focused almost entirely on who he is rather than what he does. He was born in Ghana, moved to London as a child and was hired as a model in his teens. He became fashion editor of i-D when he was only 18, much to his family’s horror, and now here he is, editing one of the most important fashion magazines in the world. It’s an extraordinary story, but not a wildly unimaginable one in the fashion industry. John Galliano is another gay working-class immigrant who made it big in London fashion at an early age, Alexander McQueen was a gay East-Ender who did the same. Naomi Campbell is the daughter of a single mother from Lambeth. Alek Wek moved from South Sudan to London in 1991 and was soon after hired as a model.

As Enninful writes in his memoir, “Fashion is a borderless industry that is powered by immigrants. As I looked around New York Fashion Week in early March, I saw how 90 per cent of my colleagues living and working there were originally from other countries.” None of this detracts from Enninful’s enormous achievement, but fashion, and particularly British fashion, has been better at embracing immigrant, gay and working-class kids than outsiders give it credit for.

The little discussion there has been about what Enninful actually does has focused on how he has improved diversity in fashion. There is no doubt there are more black models and features about race and LGBT issues than ever before in Vogue, and this reflects the time as much as it does Enninful himself. There has been much comment on how different his Vogue is from his predecessor Alexandra Shulman’s, which was largely, and even infamously, white and posh. (I was briefly a contributing editor to Shulman’s Vogue, although she then let me go, so I have no loyalty to her.)

Enninful has brought identity politics to the magazine, but it’s always interesting which parts of someone’s identity count and which don’t. For example, Vogue now features models such as Cara Delevingne and Adwoa Aboah talking about, respectively, sexuality and race, and Meghan Markle edited a special issue. Quite how much of a change these women are from the posh ones of yore is a debatable issue, given Delevingne and Aboah are descended from aristocracy and Markle is married to a prince. And of course, the models are just as skinny as they ever were, and the clothes just as expensive. Last month’s cover celebrating Pride featured LGBTQ young people, but it was indistinguishable from any other Vogue cover, given they were all beautiful and thin. The current cover features Linda Evangelista, airbrushed to near unrecognisability and almost entirely covered, lest anyone be offended by her 50-something flesh.

It must be a strange time to be a fashion editor. We are entering the worst cost of living crisis in most people’s living memory. The mental health of girls and young women is notoriously precarious, with rocketing rates of depression, body-hatred and self-harm. When Shulman was editing Vogue during the 2008 financial crash, every interview she gave included questions about what possible relevance Vogue had now, and I doubt she got through a single day in which she wasn’t asked by a journalist whether she felt responsible for anorexia. None of these subjects has been raised in the press around Enninful, who — lest anyone has forgotten — edits a magazine that exists to sell expensive clothes and feature very thin and beautiful women. The coverage has been entirely about him and his triumphant story. It has barely mentioned who Vogue is actually for.

In his memoir, Enninful recalls the speculation about whether he would be made editor of Vogue: “The fact that I was Black and gay was a big focus. My even being considered was presented as shocking. Hard not to see the connotations: this one doesn’t belong. I was well used to it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt every time.” And of course, that’s true. But it’s a lot more likely that he was seen as left-field choice because of his sex rather than his race or sexuality. After all, the fashion industry is not exactly short of gay men, and there have been high-profile black fashion editors before Enninful – although not at British Vogue — including AndrĂ© Leon Talley at US Vogue, Michael Roberts at Vanity Fair and Robin Givhan at The Washington Post, the first fashion writer to win a Pulitzer.

Editing Vogue, though, had always been done by a woman. Not any more. You can argue that this is a good thing and jobs should be open to all genders. Yet Vogue is a magazine about women and for women, and now a man is in charge of it. Shulman edited GQ before she got the Vogue job and she was regularly asked how she knew what men wanted. When some wondered how he would know what women want, he said in an interview with the New York Times last month, he called his friends “Rihanna and Naomi, and they both told me, you just have to tune it out”.

After questions about skinny models, pricey clothes and fashion’s pointlessness, the fourth inevitable question was whether it was just an industry in which gay men dictated what women should wear. I always bristled at this, with its blaring overtones of homophobia. Enninful’s sexuality is not relevant to his ability to do his job. But his sex is surely a different matter, given he is editing a magazine for women. He has said “I never think in terms of sex or gender. I think in terms of what someone is bringing to the table.” This is the kind of statement only a man can make. In all the glowing press about Enninful’s identity, his sex — as a critique — is mentioned about as often as the fact that Delevingne’s godfather is Nicholas Coleridge, the former long-term chairman of CondĂ© Nast. Which is to say, not at all.

Fashion is a joke. It’s an art, sure, and a hugely lucrative industry. But it’s also absurd: all these ludicrous clothes and accessories churned out month after month and then draped on bizarrely proportioned women in order to sell them to the trollish masses. Anyone who works in it knows that it’s a bit silly, which is why it’s so difficult to argue against the piss-takers. If fashion is referenced at all in the mainstream, it is usually done so sceptically and satirically, Devil Wears Prada-style.

But there is no satire in the coverage of Enninful, even though his book offers plenty of opportunities for it, with his talk of “intelligent” dresses and his gush about Beyonce (“I can’t help thinking how all these walls that we perceive Beyonce putting up don’t exist to facilitate ego”). He is surely the only fashion editor in existence who is not snarkily asked in every interview about the prices of the clothes and the waist measurements of the models in his magazine. Instead, the tone around him is hushed, earnest and reverent. Some will say this is fair enough, given his background; Wintour and Shulman are both posh and white and therefore able to take the barbs.

But you can’t have it both ways: saying Enninful is the king of fashion, but also so fragile he must be wrapped in cashmere. Also, he has been working in the fashion business for more than 30 years; he got married at Longleat with Campbell, Moss and Victoria Beckham in attendance. When the New York Times asked him for the names of five friends they could contact when writing a profile of him, his list was “Beyonce, Rihanna, Naomi, Imam, Oprah.” He is more ensconced in the fashion establishment than Shulman ever was.

When I used to insist that fashion reflected the times as much as film or art or literature, people would laugh: of what possible connection to the common man could a £12,000 dress by Armani have? And at times, I questioned this myself. But the coverage around Enninful takes it as a given that he is overhauling the culture through Vogue, producing “a massively visible new idea for what Britishness could mean”, as he puts it in his book. Enninful’s Vogue is only a force for good, whereas everyone else’s, it seems, was and is toxic. Maybe. Or maybe the only way people can take women’s fashion seriously is if the person in charge is a man.


Hadley Freeman is a staff writer at The Sunday Times. Her latest book, Good Girls: A Story and Study of Anorexia, was published in 2023.

HadleyFreeman

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Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

“You can argue that this is a good thing and jobs should be open to all genders.”
Both genders.

P C
P C
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Sexes.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Both sexes is better. And now I see I’m not the only one to say this.

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Gretta Brown
Gretta Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Throwing in the “all genders” in the hope the Tavistock and Stonewall grants her an interview. #sexnotgender

M Hollick
M Hollick
1 year ago

“You can argue that this is a good thing and jobs should be open to all genders.”

Or you could argue that jobs should be open to both sexes, if you were writing standard English.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago
Reply to  M Hollick

Come on, what about all those genders between Male and Female? And all those genders on each end of the spectrum outside of Male and Female? What about them? Don’t you think they need representing too? I am disappointed that Unherd has such narrow minded readers. Hadley knows, she respects those strange and mostly imaginary genders, and so should you.ï»ż

jules Ritchie
jules Ritchie
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

XY or XX . Sex. One or the other although you can appear as either or both.

SC Fung
SC Fung
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

As the good Lord said, I created Adam and from his ribs I created Eve. Did he have the 100 genders in mind? No. The computer said no. Imagination is a good thing until you force it onto others to confirm to your delusion/illusion/fantasy. Forcing people to acknowledge your psychosis is one thing and belongs really in a therapy room, but demanding acceptance of deviations is arrogance at its worst.

Michelle Perez
Michelle Perez
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Lol! I recognize the satire here.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 year ago

This is another example of “diversity” and Identity Politics being used as a smokescreen to hide economic oppression & income inequality. Celebrating diverse oligarchs is similar to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
I have no stomach for any wealthy person – whether trans, disabled, generqueer, black, brown, etc – claiming to be “oppressed” when so many people are drowning in the current economy.

Glyn R
Glyn R
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

I bear no resentment to the wealthy and well connected but I really do mind it when they harp on about their victimhood.

Last edited 1 year ago by Glyn R
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Gennerqueer? is that a village in Norfolk?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

I generally like Hadley’s writing but this a poor mish mash. She’s obviously bothered by a man in a “woman’s place” but can’t really put a coherent argument together as to why it’s a problem.

With female participation now demanded in everything from the Boy Scouts to the infantry it’s a bit difficult to make a balanced argument for “this is a woman’s industry.”

As for his candidature being in doubt because he’s black and gay. Can anybody seriously be still insisting those characteristics are disadvantages for a job application to the arts, fashion, education, 
 or even the RAF!

Jesper Bo Henriksen
Jesper Bo Henriksen
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The best argument, in my opinion, is that an editor with a male body simply doesn’t know what it’s like to wear women’s clothes on a daily basis. It’s like someone who has never caught a fish trying to sell fishing equipment, or someone without a drivers’ license trying to sell sports cars. Get me someone who understands what it’s like to use the product, thank you very much.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

And yet so many men have been extremely popular and successful in designing womens’ fashion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

But did these designers really produce fashion that women – not professional beanpoles – wanted to wear? Whereas Coco Chanel designed classics that make most women look good. I know very little about fashion so I accept I may well have got this wrong, but I’m throwing it out there anyway!

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Christian Dior’s post-war New Look was very influential and popular,
https://www.vogue.com/article/christian-dior-archival-looks
Also Yves St Laurent
https://exhibitions.fitnyc.edu/blog-ysl-halston/

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Yes. And in recent years, they seem really eager to give us what I call ‘hooker fashion’ – the stuff prostitutes would wear. Elegance & style are in short supply. And rather ironically during this Covid period where 78% of deaths were of of the obese- we get chubby, really chubby models everywhere. Fashion is our madhouse today.

T. Lister
T. Lister
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Yes, and most of it is dreadful.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago

Isn’t fashion about what clothes look like to others rather than what they feel like to the wearer?

Jane Hewland
Jane Hewland
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

It’s both

Adrian Maxwell
Adrian Maxwell
1 year ago

As the Emperor walked down the runway his fans didnt care who made his new clothes.

Alex Jackson
Alex Jackson
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

“She’s obviously bothered by a man in a “woman’s place” but can’t really put a coherent argument together as to why it’s a problem.“

This your first time reading a Hadley Freeman article?

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Might have been mentioned elsewhere but the most startling thing was the description of him as a working class immigrant. His dad was a major in the army in Ghana. As a commissioned officer it would be hard to describe him as such. The wikipedia page goes to describe a rather alarming story of beig “spotted” on a train by a fashion designer who invited him round to his house for a shoot with other fashionistas. He was 16. By 18 he was the youngest fashion director of a international brand. In light of the Schofield saga should this at least not be mentioned?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Interesting observation, but a bit blinkered. Surely what got him the post, let alone the reverence is that he is black, and gay, along with being a long-time insider. Superior victim cred, basically. How would a straight white male have fared, do you think?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“How would a straight white male have fared, do you think?”
Badly, even worse in fact than trying to join the Royal Air Force.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

As much chance as me replacing Lewis Hamilton in last years British GP…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Still the 15.40 at Goodwood (The Royal Sussex Regiment Handicap) should be alright!

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I think that’s a bit unfair, Enninful was a successful model, designer, contributer and editor before he was given the Vogue job. He deserves credit for talent and savoir faire.
The fashion industry, especially women’s fashion, does not usually have many “straight white males” working in it, except as agents and photographers perhaps. It’s a very feminine arena, which is I suppose why Hadley Freeman is a bit peeved.
The thing is men are finding ways to get on despite feminism, they were bound to compete, and the ‘equality’ feminists have been demanding for so long can be made to work in their favour in traditionally female occupations.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

OK, I stand corrected.
It is still a bit funny that Hadley Freeman has this to say:

maybe the only way people can take women’s fashion seriously is if the person in charge is a man.

when his being a man is not at all the thing that got him the job.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I agree. Also I would argue with Hadley that fashion has always been taken fairly seriously, there’s millions of ÂŁs and $s to be made.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Jimminy Timminy
Jimminy Timminy
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

My sense was that Hadley is peeved less because he got the job and more because he isn’t being asked the same hard questions as his female predecessors, which she attributes to his being male.

SC Fung
SC Fung
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

White men need not apply. Straight white men? Back of the line, as Obama said.

Jesper Bo Henriksen
Jesper Bo Henriksen
1 year ago

The writer missed a crucial element, which is that “Vogue” simply isn’t as important as it once was, either in fashion or in the culture as a whole. Instagram leads the way when it comes to new styles: a magazine with a three-to-six month lead time cannot hope to compete.
And most people simply don’t read print magazines these days: I cannot remember when my wife last bought one, and even our local hair salon doesn’t bother any more.
My teenage daughter gets her fashion ideas online, and often from celebrities in her age group: one might argue that the Mail Online has more fashion influence these days than Vogue does.
Enninful might be the captain of the ship, but it is a ghost ship, sailing forth on past glories and events income.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago

“Enninful’s sexuality is not relevant to his ability to do his job. But his sex is surely a different matter, given he is editing a magazine for women.”

Identity politics for me but not for thee! It’s always funny when the cognitive dissonance can’t be kept off the page.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

The whole point and delight of Vogue in the past was that it was posh and extravagant. It was escapism.

If you look at old Vogues from the 1960s and 70s, the clothes and models were beautiful at least. It was a guide to style and beauty. The advice, sometimes, took into consideration budgetry constraints. They understood what an ordinary woman might want even whilst aiming directly at the rich and posh.

No Vogues for me since about 1978, but I have seen a couple recently; the clothes seem in-sane, the models hermaphroditic and the articles extremely woke. It’s not posh anymore, it’s neo-liberal fashion for millionaires and billionaires. And because we are living through a time of cultural and political confusion around femaleness and femininity, there’s a man at the helm.
I think he had to be gay (not many heterosexual males in women’s fashion), his skin colour is incidental, but it’s turned out to be a bonus as a result of BLM, an example of how irritating CRT and ‘diversity’ targets must be for genuinely talented black people like Edward Eninnful who have risen to the top, or are rising, on merit.

Vogue does seem to reflect it’s era.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Jane Watson
Jane Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Agree Claire, I remember poring over Vogue in the late 60s early 70s, Verushka and Charlotte Rampling… I’ve turned the pages on the newstands over the years and see neither beauty nor inspiration. Wouldn’t dream of buying now. I think my fashion sense is still rooted in the 70s, which is fortunately quite trendy just now.

Maureen Finucane
Maureen Finucane
1 year ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

Jean Shrimpton was my idol.

SC Fung
SC Fung
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

I don’t read it either. The old ones had iconic absolutely amazing covers that grabbed your attention. Today, Vogue and other Conde Nast publications jump in the diversity bandwagon a la Netflix – Bridgetown etc – featuring anachronistic black and non white characters!!! Vogue and other ‘hip’ magazines do the same, excluding almost all white models! I don’t mind any models as long as they are NOT gratuitously picked. it picked to suit a diversity agenda.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

”. . . The trollish masses”. My God, the snide superiority of this one little, ugly phrase sums up the entire industry. I worked in the advertising department at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in Manhattan during the Halston fin de siùcle. The sheer contempt the executives, buyers, and creative team had for the people who shopped at Bloomie’s was staggering: they were literally hated. In meetings, this homely tribe of salaried riff raff sneered at the beautiful models we hired for our catalogues: ooooh, she looks like my pregnant cousin, etc. It’s really no wonder everyone was coked up at ten in the morning or puking their guts out because they had a French fry.
Reminds me of Graydon Carter’s editorship at Vanity Fair, when he declared that the magazine he ran was for (paraphrasing): “lumpy hausfraus in the Midwest who wish they were us”. Awful people, the lot of them. While they tell themselves how important they are, the rest of world doesn’t even bother to say who?

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago

…put a straight middle-aged man in charge of Vogue, and I can practically guarantee that the models will look a lot less like slender teenage boys, and a lot more like grown-up women…and indeed the same may be true of much of the fashion industry, which would do a great deal for the self-esteem of teenage girls who will mostly go on to look like grown-up women and not like teenage boys…as is quite right, proper and healthy.
It amazes me that this rather obvious point is so rarely remarked on…

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  R S Foster

Indeed! The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders or any gentleman’s club would go out of business with models like that. One must wonder who is their real target audience? As a thoroughly heterosexual, biological, red blooded male, I find these specimens frightening to look at.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

What on earth is this story trying to say?

Jesper Bo Henriksen
Jesper Bo Henriksen
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

It’s trying to say that Enninful isn’t criticized for the same thing that lady fashion editors get criticized for. Interestingly, it totally ignores what he’s done for the magazine, or hasn’t done for the magazine. His work is more inclusive, great. But is it any good? I don’t know anyone who reads Vogue these days, which is a bad sign.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

About you or Vogue?

Richard Stanier
Richard Stanier
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I think it’s basically a liberal moaning that although Vogue is now edited by a black, gay, working class immigrant, she still doesn’t approve somehow.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

”black, gay, working class immigrant, she still doesn’t approve somehow.”

she does not dare, Hadly virtually had to put a prophylactic ‘Struggle Session;’ into her article merely to write cryptocially as she did – that is as close to the wind as one may dare sail…..

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

What it’s trying to say is that HF has misgivings about the new diversity tarrif under which black+gay>woman. It’s also, of course, trying very hard not to actually *say* that, which is why it’s very funny indeed.

Miss Me
Miss Me
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

How long before black + trans trumps black + gay?

mark revelle
mark revelle
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Indeed. Pointless, and not in a good way. Enninful is almost certainly there on merit and has what it takes to edit his version of Vogue. So what? And talent aside, one of his major assets is clearly his contact book. Like him or not, he is connected.
Incidentally, Ms Evangelista is not just airbrushed. She has suffered two botched and seemingly irreparable face jobs. In the image, her face is effectively stapled behind her jaw and the scarf and hat (and airbrushing) disguise the horrors. Criticised for this, she said ‘We are just making an image.’ She might as easily have said ‘an illusion’.
Which is what Vogue is for, after all.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

who cares?

Fiona Ingram
Fiona Ingram
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

My question too! Biggest load of waffle when people are facing a terrible winter of decision – heat or eat – and people are dumping their pets in shelters because they can’t afford to feed the kids and the dog. This kind of magazine and indeed article is so out of touch with reality. I find myself getting annoyed. Back in the real world, 33 million people in Pakistan are affected by the terrible monsoon flooding. Has anyone thought about what is happening outside the inner sanctum of Vogue’s fancy offices? “Let them eat cake” springs to mind and we all know how that ended.

N T
N T
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Ingram

Please stop disparaging waffles. They are delicious.
And Belgian, or French, or Chinese, or American, or something. Stop disparaging other nation’s delicious food.

Jimminy Timminy
Jimminy Timminy
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Ingram

So you want fashion writers (and presumably sports writers, film & literary reviewers etc.) to start covering economics and natural disasters? Or just to stop working? Why don’t you avoid these articles if they’re not your thing, instead of demanding that they cease to exist?

Kevin Henderson
Kevin Henderson
1 year ago

It is not homophobic to question the wisdom of having Vogue being edited by a gay man. If a man has got to do that job it should be a heterosexual one who is actually attracted to women. Who is better placed to suggest to women what they need to do to make themselves look beautiful? Gay men are turned off by beautiful, healthy, fertile-looking women (I assume, not being gay myself), so what on earth are they doing advising women on what to wear? It is not an original thought, I know, but why are female fashion models as thin as rakes, if not because the fashion industry is dominated by gay men?

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago

…as I observe above, they are turned on by slender teenage boys…which is pretty much what most fashion models but practically no actual women look like…

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  R S Foster

I remember a young female aquaintaance (9 years old) once saying – “why do all the models in these magazines look like boys?”

Mark Bretherto
Mark Bretherto
1 year ago

Back when my daughter was born/very young (early 2000s) I used to regularly pick up ‘lads mags’ such as FHM/Nuts etc. When questioned if that was suitable for a father of a young girl, my stock answer was that I’d sooner my daughter grew up seeing the women’s body type in those magazines instead of the anorexic, bulimic heroin-chic images in her mum’s copies of Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan etc.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

Perhaps Vogue has become a magazine for camp gay men these days rather than for women, that would explain a lot.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
1 year ago

Good point. Are gay men in fashion industry unconsciously trying to turn curvy girls into pretty boys?

Last edited 1 year ago by Vijay Kant
T. Lister
T. Lister
1 year ago

Why the insistence on substituting the word gender for sex? I think we know why, the trans ‘gender’ flying monkey mafia will come after you if you don’t march in lock-step w/ the language fascists. And let’s just get rid of the fake concept of gender b/c it is nonsensical and unnecessary. And while we are at it can we once and for all un-force-team the ‘T’ from the LGB b/c LGB is sex-based and T is an ‘identity’–no commonality there.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago

“Fawning coverage fails to ask a vital question”: yes indeed. The obvious question is “Who cares?”

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Frankly, who cares? Just another tedious “racism LGBT” fifth column invasion blight on every aspect of life in nu britn…

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

“Coverage of Enninful has focused almost entirely on who he is rather than what he does.”
All part of the current preoccupation with ‘decolonising’ Britain – a codeword for eliminating every aspect of whiteness. We are at the dawn of a racist era the likes of which the World has never before experienced.

Scribbler G
Scribbler G
1 year ago

It’s hysterical watching this women tie herself in knots trying not to say that a woman should edit a woman’s fashion magazine and that this guy has the job cuz he’s black and gay. Funniest though is a common delusion many like her and others miss – most of us don’t care about the fashion industry. Many of us don’t even enjoy what Rhianna or Beyonce say or like, they are not ‘icons’ to us. They are supposed to be, but they aren’t. And if you looked at the actual demographics of their fanbases it’s quite clear they are niche stars, not broad superstars like say Elton John or Blondie’s Deborah Harry. The entire thing’s a con. This is a precious little elitist niche that they pretend is part of the broad culture. There is a lot of this going on today.

Roger Mortimer
Roger Mortimer
1 year ago

“lest anyone be offended by her 50-something flesh”

I’m sure you know it’s at her request because of the disastrous “coolsculpting” procedure she underwent, not because readers have to be protected from seeing a woman in her 50s.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

“Fashion is generally seen as a frivolous and simultaneously dangerous industry, populated by airheaded Marie Antoinette-like characters wearing ÂŁ10,000 hats, and malevolent figures intent on spreading eating disorders across the land.”
Pretty accurate summary, I would say.

Gretta Brown
Gretta Brown
1 year ago

Throwing in the “all genders” in the hope the Tavistock and Stonewall grants her an interview. #sexnotgender

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
1 year ago

I once read “Thing of Beauty”, the sad biography of “Supermodel Gia”. She was, I believe, a Vogue “first”. That is, she was the first model to be photographed – with the track marks removed from her pictures…

More common now?

Maureen Finucane
Maureen Finucane
1 year ago

Maybe an article about the environmental impact of the fashion industry and its sweatshops using child labour might be a more insightful article.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

I think that’s a tenuous connection, There’s obviously a difference between clothes and accessories shown in Vogue and the rag trade of Asia, There is a lot of traditional skills, of primarily women, in fashion. The clothes you see on models are made by hand, meticulously cut and stitched. These are very old skills to be respected like other traditional skills,

Maureen Finucane
Maureen Finucane
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Maybe. But very few people can afford to buy them. They are exclusively for the wealthy.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

How does that affect you or anyone else for that matter?

Maureen Finucane
Maureen Finucane
1 year ago

My husband worked in Milan for a Bank and his office was quite near a site for fashion shoots. A stream of emaciated looking girls of Eastern European appearance whom he thought not much older than 14 arrived daily at their doors. He observed that this looks like a form of human trafficking. Even though living in the heart of the fashion industry, he now thoroughly despises it.

David Fawcett
David Fawcett
1 year ago

Not now, Howard! (British joke – Howard from the Halifax adverts – looks just like him.)

Last edited 1 year ago by David Fawcett
Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

It seems to have taken a lot of screwing up of courage to express even this mild criticism of the rag trade and its gaudy foolishness.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

Are we playing diversity bingo?

Frederick Dixon
Frederick Dixon
1 year ago

Oh Lord, who cares? Wasn’t it Napoleon who is supposed to have said “the man who is interested in clothes is interested in nothing.” He was quite right, and that might help to explain why there are so few men (properly so called) in the rag trade.

Gary Knight
Gary Knight
1 year ago

“.. the only way people can take women’s fashion seriously is if the person in charge is a man.” Indeed: I’ve always perceived that the projected ‘new norms’ or even market-disruptive trends in women’s fashion have been dictated by supposed, or ‘projected’, or even ‘anticipated’ aesthetics of men. Sex-appeal is still an abiding term, though it is hackneyed: and its implicit address of something that would be lacking if not doctored makes the point. Since the days of Victoria or of Katerina a young woman is told she has to add something (or subtract) to define her femininity. Other than this play to the invisible male gallery with shallow aesthetics (though now extending to the more sapphic) I don’t see the point of haute couture, nor the vast extent of self-destruction its slaves are drawn to.
As for inviting the LGBTQ+ community to edit fashion and shape couture; in one sense they’ve always been about the hems more than straight men have – perhaps historically an outcropping of eunuchs around harems. But in a quite new sense, they will use this medium seeking to redefine gender, cashing in on a bewoke momentum that even has Hadley Freeman in this article bowing to ‘all genders’ as the audience. Gender dysphoria is the new scourge of mental health that will be added to the appalling scourge of ruinous eating disorders. Not only will lovely women waste away, so will transgender-identifiers: something we should all grasp with great pity.

Jimminy Timminy
Jimminy Timminy
1 year ago

I’m still on the fence about the fashion industry. Personally it doesn’t interest me very much (I’m a jeans and t-shirts kind of guy) but as a social phenomenon it’s hard to ignore. But the argument that Vogue, for example, should feature a diversity of ages and body shapes is one that I’m not sure about. Since sport was mentioned as a comparison in the article, I’ll use it here. Nobody is paying money to watch elderly, overweight or frail footballers compete at a professional level, yet that lack of representation doesn’t stop elderly, frail and overweight people from enjoying a kickabout in the park. Equally I would guess that the vast majority of vogue readers are not using it as a catalogue to shop for their next outfit – it’s a fantasy world designed to showcase the outer limits of the fashion industry. So while I would of course prefer that the models weren’t anorexic (for their own sake as much as that of the readers) I also don’t think it’s reasonable to expect these magazines to be representative of the real-life spectrum of ages and body types of their readerships. High street fashion is another story – since they are actually outfitting the majority of the public it makes sense for them to use models of all ages and sizes.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

.. one line answer.. he is black and gay: I’d love to see a white gay seek a similar job in an African, Carribean or muslim country?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

.. one line answer.. he is black and gay: I’d love to see a white gay seek a similar job in an African, Carribean or muslim country?

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago

There are lots of male women’s fashion designers so I don’t see the problem in having a man edit Vogue. I don’t think it’s the same as appointing a man as period zsar. It doesn’t matter what the reason for selecting him was. He’s got the job so let him get on with it and stop the whining. Vogue is a business. If Vogue does well under his editorship then good on him. If it doesn’t then he’ll be out of a job.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Yes. Vogue is about style.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Red mark: it’s not about style. Then what?

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh
1 year ago

More of Unherd’s obsession with cultural dinosaurs. Needs new blood.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Walsh

But the photo is very cool. Style is real.

Miss Me
Miss Me
1 year ago

There are few things more irritating than rich, spoilt, extremely posh and well connected models/celebrities whingeing about their perceived victimhood.
Life has struggles and challenges for everyone ffs. It is how you face them that makes the difference. While it might win you attention in the short term, wallowing in and trumpeting victimhood ( just possibly laying it on with a trowel) serves only the self in a very negative manner.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago

I have zero interest in fashion or its various glossy outlets like Vogue, but the headline was good clickbait so I succumbed.
The funny thing is that I’d never seen a picture or read a description of the man, but I must have seen the name enough to form a mental picture of him. I don’t know why I needed that, but I guess it was because of the surprise that a man was editing what I think of as a woman’s magazine.
I had no idea of his background, so the only image came from the name, which gave me the impression of a crusty old gent, more at home strolling around his country estate than prancing up and down catwalks!

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
1 year ago

The point of view is essential. Different sexualities and different maturities see the world differently. For example, I have watched heterosexual porn directed and filmed by straight men and women. And both have different perspectives. But my view point is better captured by a man filming the porn than a woman. It is just different, when you consciously look for it! Similarly, I believe women’s fashion would be better covered by the type of women consuming the fashion. The view point is somehow overlooked in this politically correct world.

Richard Irons
Richard Irons
1 year ago

I’m curious – does any linguists out there know if the English language is unique in distinguishing between the word “gender” and “sex”? One word having a biological basis, the other, less concretely, about the respective traits? If so, in the absence of an equivalent word for gender, how do these languages translate trans-gender – have they invented a word?

tom j
tom j
1 year ago

Let me guess, because she’s a woman?

Nicki Jolley
Nicki Jolley
1 year ago

Great article