How Edward Enninful and Fenty Beauty shook up inclusivity

Edward Enninful. Image courtesy of High Snobiety

Edward Enninful. Image courtesy of High Snobiety

New British Vogue editor Edward Enninful made a stand for inclusivity this year. Enninful,
who was awarded an OBE for services to diversity in fashion in 2016 and has not shied away from the issue since being named editor, pledged to use his new position to “change it from the inside”.

His debut issue hit newsstands in November with a mixed-race cover model and a culturally-diverse range of contributors. Enninful’s predecessor, Alexandra Schulman, had a famously all-white staff and featured black faces on the cover just 12 times in the 25 years that she was in charge.

Meanwhile Fenty Beauty, created and founded by singer Rihanna, also caused a huge stir in 2017. Launched in September with the tagline ‘Beauty for all’, Fenty Beauty doesn’t rely solely on the appeal of its celebrity founder – or on its futuristic magnetic packaging – but on the quality of its
offer – in particular the unprecedented breadth of its range.

While other recent celebrity beauty launches have latched on to beauty trends – Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty launched with contouring and highlighting kits; Kylie Jenner’s range Kylie Cosmetics debuted with lip kits – Fenty Beauty’s focus has been on inclusivity. Its initial launch included an unrivalled 40 shades of foundation, with each shade available in both a cool and warm version.

In addition, Fenty Beauty’s launch ad campaign not only included women of many different ethnic backgrounds, but featured more models of colour than white models. One beauty blogger remarked that beauty releases from now on will be divided into ‘a pre- and post- Fenty Beauty world.’

The only jarring fact about the Fenty Beauty range is that in the UK it is currently only available in exclusive retailer Harvey Nichols. Nevertheless, its brand values bring to mind a similar offer that emerged from the world of lingerie just last year.

Socially-conscious lingerie company Naja – which uses recycled materials in its designs and trains
and employs single or breadwinner mothers to sew its products – launched a ‘Nude for all’ lingerie range of seven shades of ‘nude’ underwear in 2016.

This came just a few months after luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin announced he was expanding his range of ‘nude’ shoes to the same number of shades.

Bronwen Morgan, Flamingo