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African Fashion Editors You Should Know 

It took 102 years for British Vogue to hire its first black Editor-in-Chief. Edward Enninful’s appointment in 2017 followed a study revealing that diversity has become an increasingly important differentiator for brands, and the good news is, a new wave of African fashion editors are now being recognized for their achievements in the industry.

“Africa is making huge strides in being able to provide a sustainable offering to the fashion industry,” Orange Culture designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal told CNN in 2016. “People are more willing to support upcoming brands.”

As African fashion continues to attract millions of consumers around the world, Demand Africa compiled a list of African fashion editors you need to know.

RELATED: 5 African Fashion Brands That Ship To The United States

Nuel Bans, Editor, Debonair Afrik

Emmanuel Ekuban, better known as Nuel Bans, began his illustrious career as a novice fashion assistant who struggled to land odd jobs in the industry. Eight years later, the Ghanaian-born fashion expert is now the editor of Debonair Afrik, an African-based media publication with a focus on fashion and lifestyle coverage.

Before the online magazine became one of the premier publications on the continent, Bans admitted that his passion lied in fashion and not digital content.

“I was a young boy who was not exactly a good writer and an illiterate in the field of websites and online writing,” Bans told a Debonair Afrik reporter last year.

He explained that it was the help of his brother and some close friends that caused the brand to expand its reach, and ten years from now, he sees the publication continuing to create exclusive content for readers and consumers.

“The African fashion industry is a budding industry and we are here for the change,” he added.

Edward Enninful, Editor-in-Chief, British Vogue

Where do you begin when it comes to Edward Enninful? A fashion luminary who attracted attention when he became British Vogue’s first African and gay Editor-in-Chief, it may seem as if his success came overnight, but behind the scenes, Enninful fought tirelessly throughout the span of over two decades to clench the throne.

“I feel what I’m doing here is really going back to the traditions of Vogue, opening up and having conversations about the world we live in, diversity of perspective, of experience,” he told Attitude Magazine shortly after beginning his new position. “I’m always curious, looking forward, trying to discover new things for myself as well as the reader.”

The Ghanaian-born editor began his fashion career at 18 when he was tapped to serve as fashion director for British magazine i-D. He held the post for over 20 years before becoming a contributing editor for Italian Vogue before becoming the fashion director for W Magazine.

And if that is not enough, Enninful has consulted advertising campaigns for the likes of Comme des Garcon, Gucci, Hugo Boss and Valentino.

Nancie Mwai, Editor and Blogger, Nancie Mwai

Kenyan-born Nancie Mwai raised the eyebrows of MTV Style, The Guardian and Mashariki Mix after she gained traction with her fresh and inventive online fashion content.

The award-winning blogger began her career as a fashion designer before making the transition to digital fashion content and branding. She currently boasts 94,000 followers on Instagram and has a healthy following on YouTube, but she admits that what you see on-screen comes with a lot of hard work and dedication.

“Honestly, it can be quite intimidating, regardless of the fact that you’re in a room all by yourself filming. You start thinking, ‘I don’t sound great,’ ‘I might not have the best English,’ ‘There are people who are better than me…’” she told SDE magazine.

Mwai had to stop that train of thought, she said, and decided that she would just be herself.

“If people like it, fine, if they don’t, that’s fine too.”

Before becoming one of the continent’s biggest fashion influencers, Mwai served as a stylist for her campus newspaper and was an accountant, a job she said was “horrible. I hated it.”

Now, she says she is in a good place, and she has this piece of advice of anyone who feels they are in a dead-end career:

“It’s taken me eight years to get to where I am now, to be able to say I’m content and happy with my career – eight years. Keep at it. Don’t stop.”

Regina Jane Jere-Malanda, Editor, New African Woman

As the editor of New African Woman Magazine Regina Jane Jere-Malanda oversees the magazine’s coverage of a wide range of issues, ranging from fashion to women’s rights and politics.

The Zambian-born journalist was a former correspondent for Agence France Press, and a former Africa researcher at Index on Censorship before taking on the role. She has also has written several books including The Mission: Journalism, Ethics and the World.

Being an editor for the magazine has been “a humbling experience,” Jere-Malanda said in a red carpet interview for TGZ TV. “People need to be inspired by the content in our magazines. It helps gives a voice to women who need it, which is encouraging.”

New African Woman is available in both English and French and sells in most major airports throughout the world. Her hope is that it becomes a household name internationally by having support from women worldwide.

“The more we support each other the more we grow. That is how you will see the evolution of African fashion.”

Noxolo Mafu, Deputy Editor, Cosmopolitan South Africa

Noxolo Mafu is the newly-appointed deputy editor for Cosmopolitan South Africa and she is already being applauded for bringing a fresh new face to one of the world’s most iconic beauty magazines. The born and bred Cape Town journalist was formerly the head of video at Huffington Post South Africa before joining the Cosmopolitan team last year.

[Cosmopolitan] is filled with such talented, versatile and innovative people who love what they do and want to grow every day,” Mafu told the magazine shortly after her appointment. “I think collectively we can learn from each other and would love to push the boundaries of the industry.”

Mafu’s intention was to become an on-air presenter; it was a dream job since she was a young girl, she said on Massiv Metro, a local Johannesburg radio station. But as the digital revolution took force, she decided to focus on online journalism.

Shortly after graduating from Rhodes University with a degree in journalism and media studies, she co-executive directed Soweto Rising, a documentary on Johannesburg’s street culture. She then became an online video journalist for News24, South Africa’s premier news publication before serving as an executive for Huffington Post.

Mafu’s passion is focused on “building a career that shares the stories of people,” specifically in the form of digital journalism.

The digital migration is happening fast, she added. “Digital is where it’s at and it’s a lot of fun!”

Written by Zaina Adamu

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