There aren't many black people in prominent positions in the fashion industry: fact. The past few years has seen a focus on their absence in the modelling world but little has been said about the lack of black people in the industry generally, but this was one of the areas of focus in a recent interview with Edward Enninful in the Huffington Post.
When asked about whether the industry is becoming more inclusive of black designers, models and editors, the new fashion director of W made it clear that not much had changed. "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," he explained. "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."
The way forward is all about education he argued. "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," he said. "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."
Rather than simply talking, Enninful helped support this initiative back in 2008 by contributing to the legendary all-black issue of Vogue Italia. "To be part of the black issue was great because it was monumental for its time. No editor had ever dedicated a whole issue to a certain ethnic group," he said. And the stylist couldn't be any more complimentary of the magazine's editor: "Franca basically, puts her money where her mouth is. The beauty of the black issue was that it was an all-black issue, but it wasn't just a one-off. She continued to feature black models, she continued to feature different body types or body shapes. She continued to challenge the norm, which is the question that we've been talking about, and I feel that's what we want to take from W as well. We want to make everybody a part of the after-party. Everyone's welcome. I feel that's really, really important."