This cover features Anisa Omar, a supermarket assistantINSTAGRAM/EDWARDENNINFUL

Only recently, the doyenne of fashion, Anna Wintour, called upon the fashion community to ‘rethink our values’ during this time of crisis. Whilst the current pandemic has overwhelmed the world with great loss and pain, and the future of the fashion industry is certainly not on the fore of the collective’s mind, we have undeniably been provided an opportunity to instigate a level of change.

"‘The New Front-Line’ is this issue’s headline"

This change that we hope to usher in goes far beyond the often-uttered ‘sustainable movement’. It’s a conscious, collaborative effort to shun trend culture and fashion’s newfound disposability, pressing pause on the relentless cycle of new collections and coveted items. In light of our recent endeavours, it is equally important to widen the scope of our spotlighting. Renowned figures like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood have been storming headlines in the last few years, receiving praise for their ethically designed collections. However, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful is turning our attention away from the glorification of sustainable fashion.

‘The New Front-Line’ is this issue’s headline: coined by Enninful in an ‘email I sent to myself’, it is designed to honour those putting ‘their lives on the line for us’. He recognises that in the fashion industry ‘there has been a shift in who we look up to and admire, and these people need to be celebrated’. This shift has cast the spotlight on the key workers of our country, such as NHS frontliners, teachers, storeworkers, and all those making the conscious decision to help fight this virus. In light of this, Enninful brought in photographer Jamie Hawkesworth, whose photography is ‘always very honest’. In fact, upon being called for the job, Enninful found Hawkesworth ‘out delivering food to vulnerable people on his bike’. 

The first of three covers features Narguis Horsford, a train driver from Bounds Green, north London. She has worked for Transport for London ‘for ten years and driven London Overground trains for the past five’. Horsford says ‘I am no hero, but I’m proud of being a train driver and the essential role we are playing’. Trains have been running - an albeit limited service - during the country-wide lockdown, facilitating safe journeys for other key workers. Keeping a positive spirit, she notes that ‘people have been smiling more at me and I’ve received a few thank yous’, attesting the collective change for the better that has been instilled within our population. Of course, working on the frontline means she has to distance herself from her loved ones, including her grandmother. 

This cover features train driver Narguis HorsfordINSTAGRAM/EDWARDENNINFUL

Next up is Rachel Millar, who ‘has worked as a community midwife at Homerton Hospital, in east London, for almost three years’. She discusses how different her weeks are working in the hospital, from ‘shifts in the birth centre’ to ‘postnatal home visits’. The pandemic has brought some challenging times for her, like when she had her bike stolen, especially as she was actively trying to avoid public transport at the time. ‘Having to carry on for the rest of the week, maintain good morale, and be that reassuring voice to worried parents was made slightly more difficult’, she remembers, reminding us of how taxing this situation truly is on our key workers. But, her positivity is still going strong, as she hopes to run the London Marathon for the charity Sands. She further mentions that, whilst the 8pm clapping for the NHS has boosted spirits and is a much appreciated gesture, this recognition needs to continue well beyond the remit of the pandemic. 

"I felt like I just had to go in and do my job"

Finally, we meet Anisa Omar, a ‘supermarket assistant at the London King’s Cross branch of Waitrose’, whilst also studying at university. It was after Boris Johnson announced a nationwide lockdown that she remembered ‘I felt like I just had to go in and do my job’, despite feeling ‘slightly anxious’. Naturally, being in a high-risk situation would elicit those kinds of feelings, but Omar says ‘it’s worth it because you’re helping people’. She has been trying to keep people feeling happy and resilient, believing ‘if I can put a smile on someone’s face because I’m smiling, that’s amazing for me. That’s all I need’. Following government guidelines and wearing PPE, she feels safe at work, which we can only hope all key workers feel at this time. She ends on a powerful note: ‘it’s more than just a job now’. 

This cover features community midwife Rachel MillarINSTAGRAM/EDWARDENNINFUL

Enninful has been a breath of fresh air since taking over British Vogue in April 2017, and this cover story is no different. His first cover star was Adwoa Aboah, a well-known advocate of mental health with her online forum Gurls Talk, as well as an international supermodel. Enninful has routinely acted as a vocal proponent for minorities, expressing a pressing interest in changing the fashion community to one of acceptance and universalism. 


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This is most definitely a concrete step in the right direction: British Vogue’s momentary turning away from traditional fashion represents a desire to embrace togetherness and camaraderie. Reflecting the gratitude of the British people, the magazine has used its worldwide recognition to focus media interest on those that truly deserve it. Avid followers of fashion must take a step back, and in true Wintour fashion, ‘rethink what this industry stands for’.

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