Fashion and Society: 5 inspiring fashion individuals to know about

16 August 2018

Fashion can be a vital tool in shaping the world through creating a chain reaction and empowering the consumer. But who shapes fashion? 

My latest post in the ‘Fashion and Society’ series looks at those inspiring individuals in fashion, fashion design, fashion publication and fashion activism, who are shaping the industry for the better.

Edward Ennifur 
Vogue undoubtedly moulds the fashion industry. It’s a symbolic editorial, offering readers a network of like minded creatives. It is also the place where all inspiring fashion enthusiasts envision themselves to have 'made it'. 

Edward Enninful’s story is one of those that I look at and just think ‘wow’. Born in Ghana to a seamstress, he moved to West London at a young age. At the age of 16, Edward was scouted on a train by stylist Simon Foxton. What was I doing at the age of 16? Certainly not being spotted by one of the greatest stylists of all time! 

In his own words, his brief modelling stint was his "baptism into fashion". Long story short, by the age of 18, he was the youngest fashion director at i-D magazine. Or more specifically, the youngest fashion director for an international publication. In 1998, he stuck his foot in the Vogue door by becoming the contributing editor to Italian Vogue, where again in his words he upgraded from a ‘London’ stylist to a ‘proper stylist’ after his experiences working Franca Sozzani and Steven Meisel.  In late 2017, he took on the role of Editor in Chief at British Vogue – the first black minority ethnic male to do so too, using his position to create a platform for underrepresented talent within the fashion and creative arts industries. 

Anna Wintour
You can't really mention Vogue without mentioning Anna Wintour. When I think Vogue, I think Anna Wintour. The woman that has films based on her (I’m thinking ‘The devil wears Prada) and sits front row at almost any important fashion show. She is the savvy, smart woman that curates one of the world’s most profitable publications, incorporating a range of magazines such as; Teen Vogue, Men’s Vogue and Vogue living - US vogue has an estimated circulation of 1,231,931million. She can also raise millions of dollars for worthwhile causes and charities at the click of her fingers (well admittedly it’s not just a click of the fingers), including $26 million for the Met’s Costume Institute, as well as $14 million for various AIDS charities - placing her on the list of inspirational fashion individuals. 

Vivienne Westwood
If there was an award for most unconventional person of the year, decade, millennium...since the history of planet earth, Dame Vivienne Westwood would win that award.

Although I love her as a designer, I love her as a person even more. I was lucky enough to be gifted a pair of her classic pirate boots from a family member when I was a teenager. I was also lucky enough to be invited down to the Manchester museum in 2016 where she gave a talk on Manchester’s commitment to public action on climate change. Both encounters with Vivienne, through her designs and talks put me in a position of awe. 

From her humble beginnings working in a factory, to enrolling a teacher training school, to creating a massive fashion empire turned fashion social impact catalyst, she always remained topical and manages to entice a range of people to listen to what she has to say.

Adwoa Aboah
Adwoa is real. She is the model that fronts massive campaigns such as Calvin Klein. She is the girl that eloquently talks about her struggles with depression, addiction and suicide. She is the girl that takes off her clothes to show that style is not about what you wear, but about being comfortable in your own skin. She is the girl currently in the process of creating a place for young women and girls to talk openly about a range of issues that affect them through her charity ‘Gurls Talk’.

Charli Howard
Charli is a model (slight trend here), body-positive activist and author. 

For so long, the modelling industry was saturated with stick thin, unhealthy models, inspiring a generation of girls to conform to this as the only acceptable standard of beauty. Charli is out to change that. 

Having been through the experience of being dropped by a modelling agency for being 'too curvaceous' (is there such a thing?!?) - she went viral following her eloquently written and poignant response to the agency. This total girl boss is raising the game having co-founded foundation, ‘The All Women Project’ to combat the use of retouched images of women in fashion and beauty campaigns - *hears echoes of ‘Yass girl’ around the country*

Her instagram @charlihoward is one that everyone should all follow, or if not follow have a deep stalk right back until February 2015. 


© What Maya Wears. Design by FCD.