Edward Enninful: ‘There’s a misconception that fashion people don’t eat’

Burberry SS20 London Fashion Week 2019 Arrivals - The Troubadour Theatre, White City, London

Edward Enninful is the editor in chief of British Vogue. He’s become a favorite of Anna Wintour, which means total job security. Enninful took over from Alexandra Shulman, who was known as a very old-school fashion editor. “Old school” meaning “British Vogue only put thin white women on the cover for years and years.” Enninful brought diversity to British Vogue in the form of cover subjects, highlighting inclusive fashion designers and bringing in new staff. Enninful chatted with a podcast recently about how he believes that the fashion industry and fashion magazines have changed dramatically in recent years:

The fashion industry may be changing its ways, but there’s still a long way to go. British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful claims that models do actually eat and aren’t as stick-thin as was the standard in the 1990s.

“There’s a misconception that fashion people don’t eat, but that’s not true,” Enninful, 49, said on the “River Cafe Table 4” podcast.

He then admitted that the industry still has much work to do to be body inclusive and more racially diverse, but it’s making strides. “When you look at, at least, my Vogue anyway, everybody’s welcome. All shapes, all sizes, all colors,” he said, adding that “everybody’s all so welcoming” when including body diversity. “That strict thing of not being able to be a certain size, ‘being size zero is the perfect size,’ that doesn’t exist anymore,” Enninful said.

The Ghanian-British editor continued, “Even the idea of being a model has changed. You can be short, you can be curvy, you can be disabled.”

Enninful acknowledged that the industry is changing “slowly” and “it’s not perfect.” He also suggested that the Black Lives Matter movement has forced brands to understand “they have to hire people from diverse backgrounds behind the scenes.”

“Conversations that are being had now never would have been had about 10 years ago,” he said.

[From The NY Post]

Eh. I mean, I agree that it’s slightly better these days, but Enninful is really overselling the minuscule changes that have been made within the industry. One thing which people don’t really discuss is tokenism: magazines and fashion designers will say “okay, we’ll put one plus-sized model out there, or one Muslim model in a hijab, or one model in a wheelchair and that’s good enough.” While tokenism is better than the racist, sizeist, ableist status quo, it’s still not GOOD. It’s still not a substantial change. And no, I don’t believe that “models eat now!” The overwhelming majority of models are still thin white women. The overwhelming majority of fashion designers want their runways to be walked by size-zero white women (or girls, because the fashion industry is also ageist AF).

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11 Responses to “Edward Enninful: ‘There’s a misconception that fashion people don’t eat’”

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  1. Julia K says:

    ” fashion people” who are women ” don’t eat”

    • STRIPE says:

      Um yeah no.

      My friend who is a model is considered “plus size” and that is a literal joke to me given her body type- she is skinnier and taller than Chrissy Teigan – she’s not even close to Hunter McGrady or Ashley Graham. When she told me that she was “plus size now” I LITERALLY laughed out loud.

      Soooooo while I very much appreciate what Enninful is doing (the new cover is amazing), he is overselling it on this point as far as I can see. In fact, even the new cover, while groundbreaking in black representation, is still only thin models.

  2. Nyro says:

    They don’t eat though. Ever seen a model do one if those “what is eat in a day” videos? They’re like “For breakfast I have lemon water and a green smoothie. For lunch I have a green smoothie and a half an apple with a teaspoon of almond butter! OMG so fattening! And then for dinner, if I’m still hungry of course, I’ll have three ounces of poached salmon, three green beans, and a square of dark chocolate for dessert! OMG, I’m such a freakin’ pig LOL!!” No grown woman who’s six feet tall and 120 pounds actually eats.

  3. Mac says:

    As long as Anna Wintour has a job fashion will be dominated by thin white women.

  4. AMJ says:

    They eat water for breakfast, raw carrot for lunch and caffeine for dinner. Sounds healthy, right

    • Julia K says:

      Pretty close. Years ago I knew a much younger lady who was trying to break into local print ad modelling. Her entire days intake was one apple and one orange.

  5. Daisy says:

    The industry is more diverse now but it feels like it’s less creative. The shoots are so basic (especially for the American and Australian Vogues), it’s like editors go like “there you go! A diverse cast! Nothing else is needed”, which is sad because the models are talented and good at what they do, they can carry interesting editorials.
    Also yeah, especially the begginners still diet a lot. The Celine cast always looks like it’s a bunch of children.

  6. TarteAuCitron says:

    Better than nothing, obviously. But Vogue IS for fashion women & industry insiders. It doesn’t speak to me, never did.
    I appreciate that at least he has been thinking about it, unlike Nuclear Wintour and previous editors.

  7. goofpuff says:

    Isn’t he the one who said there isn’t systemic racism in the monarchy in response to Meghan’s experience?