The global Vogue brand’s relationship with diversity remains, however, complicated. While it claims to be curious about the new and different, unworldly attitudes among Vogue editors seem to be not yet “out of Vogue”.
Speaking after Enninful’s appointment, Vogue Nederland editor-in-chief Karin Swerink naively passed the lack of ethnic diversity buck to models of colour and their agencies. She said:
There is currently only one dark skinned top model in the Netherlands, a favourite of Vogue. It concerns Imaan Hamman … There is absolutely not a lack of goodwill. I consider mainly if [the model] is contemporary and fits in the story that we want to tell. I don’t consider if someone is white or black. That is so unimportant when making a magazine. We keep an eye on some dark girls, such as Nirvana Naves. But, I think that she just has not the potential yet.
A sobering message indeed. Swerink received a major backlash, and appears to be experimenting with more diverse editorial policies now. Naomi Campbell graced the cover of Vogue Nederland’s 2017 special edition “The Book”, for example. Putting Vogue friend Campbell on the cover will hopefully keep the conversation going – especially now Swerink can turn to her colleague Enninful for advice.
One can only hope that Enninful’s appointment is not a mere blip, but a move in the right direction on a long road to diversity for the global brand. Such a responsible and inclusive attitude should be a necessary characteristic for any Vogue editor-in-chief worth the title. It could very well be that Enninful is the first in a new generation of editors who understand the power they have to change the whole fashion industry.