Chioma Nnadi will become the next 'head' of British Vogue, Condé Nast has confirmed, following the departure of Edward Enninful as editor-in-chief.
The decision follows months of speculation over who would take the reins of the fashion magazine, after Enninful announced in June that the March 2024 edition would be his last.
Her appointment – with the new title of head of editorial content rather than editor-in-chief – was the "industry's worst kept secret", said The Guardian, but it has now been officially confirmed she will take over on 9 October.
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The 44-year-old, who was born in London to a "Swiss-German nurse mother and a Nigerian father", will be the "first Black woman to edit the storied fashion magazine", the newspaper added.
Who is Chioma Nnadi?
Chioma Nnadi was interested in fashion from an early age. She wrote for Vogue in 2019 how aged four she was "running wild through John Lewis" in London's West End, but her father "knew exactly" where to find her: "not in the toy department on the fourth floor, but down on three with all the fashion".
In the same feature she recalled how "some of my early fashion choices did bother" her father. "When I came home one day wearing what I thought was an amazing ’40s crombie coat found at the second-hand store by my high school, he was mortified," she said. "Why on earth would you want to wear dead people's clothes?” was his response.
Currently the editor of US-based Vogue.com, and co-host of the publication's podcast "The Run Through", Nnadi began her career at the Evening Standard in London. She then moved to the United States to work for independent style magazine Trace, before joining Fader as style director.
Nnadi is a "Vogue veteran", said publisher Condé Nast, having joined the publication as a fashion writer in 2010 and been appointed editor of the US website in 2020.
With the change in leadership, many are curious about the stamp Nnadi will put on the magazine, and about her relationship with global editorial director Anna Wintour, who is said to be the inspiration for the 2006 film "The Devil Wears Prada".
But Nnadi "isn't the terrifying fashion editor of old", a Condé Nast insider told The Times' Harriet Walker. "She's quite shy one-on-one, and very calm."
Wintour's power play
Nnadi's appointment comes at a time of a rumoured power struggle at the fashion magazine.
Enninful was "the first male Black and gay editor in the magazine's 106 year history", said NPR. He held the post for six years, a markedly shorter stint than his predecessor, Alexandra Shulman, who edited the fashion bible for a quarter of a century.
While editing British Vogue is widely viewed as "one of the great jobs in journalism", said The Sunday Times earlier this year, longevity in the role can only be achieved with the backing of Wintour, "an editor whose approval or disapproval can make or break a designer's career".
According to the newspaper, it was an open secret within the fashion world that Enninful believed Wintour, now 73, would step down soon and that he would "be a shoo-in" for her role. But a friend told the paper that he had "shot for the moon and lost", resulting in his moving to the position of editorial adviser.
Although Nnadi will be Enninful's successor at British Vogue, her title will not be editor, and instead she will be the head of editorial content in what is a significant change.
This means Wintour will "likely gain full control of both British and American Vogue", the Daily Mail reported, concluding the power struggle for now. The decision to "anoint" her "loyal ally" Nnadi has shown Wintour as "victorious in the battle for the soul of Vogue", the newspaper added.
More trainers than heels
The appointment of Nnadi "represents a marked change" for Vogue, said the Evening Standard. While Enninful came "from a stylist background", the new editor is a "thoroughbred writer and editor".
She has been widely welcomed by the fashion industry and outsiders alike, gaining a "glowing endorsement" from Wintour, The Telegraph reported. The editor-in-chief praised Nnadi, stating she is "an editor and writer with an impeccable reputation", while Enninful described her as a "brilliant and unique talent with real vision".
One fashion insider told The Times that Nnadi is "the nicest person I've ever dealt with at Vogue". The new boss is "more often spotted in trainers than in the traditional fashion editor heels", and has received "the industry's highest compliment: 'normal'", the newspaper said.
Nnadi herself acknowledged the significance of the role. "Is there pressure? Yeah, there's definitely pressure – it's Vogue," she told The Guardian. "It's more than being part of a magazine – it's part of the cultural conversation."
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