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News > School News > In Conversation with Edward Enninful OBE

In Conversation with Edward Enninful OBE

On Monday 20th November, we were delighted to welcome Edward Enninful OBE to FHS for an inspiring ‘in conversation’ event

Joined on stage by our Director of Creative Enterprise, Mr Dyson, the evening saw Edward share his career journey and invaluable advice with an audience of FHS pupils, parents, alumni, staff and invited members of the Katherine Low Settlement, one of our partner charities.

Having enjoyed an illustrious career in fashion journalism, Edward has been Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue since 2017, and soon will take on a new role of European Editorial Director of Condé Nast. As the first male and black editor of British Vogue, his tenure has been shaped by an urgency to transform the magazine into a brand that truly reflects modern Britain. Under his leadership, the brand has seen dramatic transformations in editorial content and significant investments in digital strategy, accessibility and diversity – particularly with who is featured on the coveted cover spot.

During the event, Mr Dyson presented a series of questions submitted by Sixth Formers and invited Edward to share insights on how he has navigated the challenges of the fashion industry throughout his career. He spoke candidly about how he developed resilience in a tough industry by championing creativity, curiosity, culture and collaboration at every turn. Having grown up in Ghana surrounded by the vibrancy of African textiles and craftsmanship, he also remains passionate about exploring cultural differences and celebrating global cultures, encouraging our students to widen their global perspectives through engaging with art, film, music and theatre, and to never stop learning. This ethos will have undoubtedly resonated with our students, who will be all too familiar with the seven Cs that epitomise an FHS education: confidence, commitment, craftsmanship, communication, curiosity, collaboration and creativity. These essential skills are not only honed through our double national award-winning Creative Enterprise programme which sees around 50 girls starting their own businesses every year, but cemented further by offering students regular opportunities to hear from inspiring guest speakers such as Edward at events such as our weekly Sixth Form Speaker Programme.

Speaking in more depth about his career trajectory, Edward also offered invaluable advice to those wishing to pursue a career in fashion. His early career experiences included modelling, internships in journalism and directing fashion shows, all of which contributed to his goal of creating a magazine where ‘if you can see it, you can be it’. Following this, he offered our students the following pearls of wisdom:

* Finish your qualifications.
* Gain work experience by assisting and opening up to new people.
* Be persistent with contacting people who inspire you and do not give up.
* You must be obsessed with fashion – because everyone else in the industry is!
* Stay true to your originality.
* Believe in your own vision.
* Surround yourself with good people.
* Stay grounded – regardless of your personal and professional successes.

Once again reflecting our focus on empowering young entrepreneurs, Edward also emphasised that the key to success in fashion is to master the commercial side of the industry, advocating for a perfect union of ‘art and commerce’. With creativity, innovation and enterprise embedded in our DNA, it is no surprise therefore that fashion remains a popular career path for many of our students, who through their Francis Holland education have learnt how to capitalise on the unique intersection between creativity and enterprise.

The event concluded with a vibrant Q&A session from the audience which included questions on the impact of AI on creativity, the rise of influencing and the changing face of advertising. Edward’s insights on these topics left the departing audience with plenty of food for thought, with one Year 12 student also leaving with expert advice on staging her own sustainable fashion show for her Extended Project Qualification.

The invaluable insights and advice shared by Edward throughout the evening will no doubt remain with our students and FHS community for years to come. We are so grateful for Edward for his generosity in time and wisdom.

 

In Conversation with Edward Enninful OBE

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