Ghanaian-born stylist and editor-in-chief of British Vogue Edward Enninful OBE has been named the UK’s most influential Black person. Enninful topped the 2024 Powerlist, which is now in its 18th year. The annual list celebrates people of African, African Caribbean and African American heritage.
It began in 2006 to highlight Black role models to young people across sectors including science and technology, business, and the arts. Entrants are judged on their “ability to change lives and alter events, as demonstrated over a protracted period of time and in a positive manner”.
Other names that made this year’s list were Afua Kyei, Bank of England chief financial officer, and Dean Forbes, CEO, Forterro, Partner Corten Capital.
Enninful, who is the first Black man to hold the role of Vogue editor in the UK, announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down to focus on other projects.
Born in Ghana, Enninful moved to London with his parents and five siblings. At 16, his modeling career was launched after a fortuitous encounter with fashion scout Simon Foxton on a train ride. His career as a model was brief, and by age 17, he began working as an assistant to the fashion directors of the newly founded i-D magazine. He managed to combine this role with his studies at Goldsmith University, and two years later as a 19-year-old, he was promoted to the position of fashion director, making him the youngest director for an international fashion magazine.
At i-D magazine, Enninful became known for his edgy style, which he said was inspired by the streets. He also credits his mother, a skilled seamstress who made vividly patterned African clothing for her Ghanaian-British friends, as one of his earliest inspirations.
The 51-year-old, who has long advocated for the much-needed diversity within the fashion industry, said it was an honor to be on the 2024 Powerlist. He said the list “shines a light on black people really breaking boundaries, who are unafraid and champion what it means to be truly diverse in their own industries”.
Here’s the Powerlist 2024 top 10:
- Edward Enninful, OBE – editor-in-chief of British Vogue, European editorial director of Vogue
- Dean Forbes – CEO, Forterro, Partner Corten Capital
- Afua Kyei – chief financial officer, Bank of England
- Marvin Rees – mayor of Bristol
- Tunde Olanrewaju – senior partner and managing partner, McKinsey & Company
- Joshua Siaw, MBE – partner, White & Case
- Syreeta Brown – group chief people and communications officer, Virgin Money UK
- Paulette Simpson, CBE – executive, corporate affairs and public policy, Jamaica National Bank; executive director, The Voice Media Group
- Vanessa Kingori, CBE – chief business officer, Condé Britain, Vogue European business advisor
- Lord Woolley of Woodford – co-founder, Operation Black Vote, and principal, Homerton College, Cambridge University