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31 Aug

Kenya Hunt’s Homecoming at Elle UK

LONDON — This summer, Kenya Hunt, the editor in chief of Elle U.K., had a full-circle moment since she joined the magazine in March 2022.

“I can’t say I’m latest within the role anymore, or anything like that. Shortly after the September issue hit newsstands, I left and went on holiday, to have time to step away from it — to pause and reflect on every part,” she said during an interview at Dover Street Market’s Rose Bakery.

Hunt isn’t latest to Elle U.K. She joined the glossy magazine in 2015 as its fashion features director under then-editor Lorraine Candy, then was promoted to deputy editor under Candy’s successor, Anne-Marie Curtis, followed by a brief interim period as editor until Farrah Storr, editor of Cosmopolitan within the U.K., took the reins in 2019 before resigning in 2021.

Cara Delevingne on the quilt of Elle U.K.’s September issue.

Before the appointment of Storr, staffers at Elle U.K. had at all times bet on Hunt to turn into editor. She was popular amongst senior and junior members of the team; well-connected and liked in the style sphere, and her attitude to magazine-making didn’t run on the steam of the glory days of fashion publishing.

Before her anticipated return to Elle U.K., Hunt took the position of fashion director and deputy editor at Grazia U.K. in November 2020 and published a group of non-public essays, “Girl: Essays on Black Womanhood.”

“Though I even have worked inside women’s media for the overwhelming majority of my working life on a reasonably linear track, I’ve at all times come at it from the viewpoint of an outsider for a variety of reasons, whether it’s my experience as a transplant to Latest York, having come from Virginia; as a lady of color working in predominantly white spaces, and as an American, having moved to the U.K. and crafted a life for myself,” explained Hunt, about what it means to be in the new seat at Elle U.K.

“You’ve gotten to be really creative to check a spot for yourself, in spaces where you don’t naturally see yourself reflected,” she added.

Hunt is aware of the ever-changing media landscape. She recently got here back from Cannes Lions, where the large debate was artificial intelligence, but she stays optimistic as she reminisces in regards to the digital disruption that was going down during her coming of age in her profession.

“The [role] models that I had once I was coming up, that era is over and gone with, but I believe the attractive thing is that we’re on this latest chapter where things are evolving and changing,” said Hunt.

Hunt’s generation of magazine editors has set ambitions and diverse side hustles. Her collection of essays is being taken to the small screen by FilmNation TV UK; she’s keen to put in writing one other book, and is an lively mentor to those coming up in the style industry via R.O.O.M Mentoring, a program that advocates for greater diversity inside the creative industries.

Since joining the magazine, quite a few latest projects have been brewing on the title, including “Why I… Move,” a podcast in partnership with Nike that’s been renewed for a second season; the return of the Elle Style Awards on Sept. 5, that last took place in 2017; Elle Collective, a latest subscription platform for readers to interact with the making of the magazine, and the launch of a latest newsletter.

“Before even setting foot back within the constructing, I knew I desired to bring back the Elle Style Awards since it’s such a core a part of who we’re and having that chance to have a good time one of the best of British fashion,” said Hunt in regards to the upcoming project, where Tiffany & Co. is a headline partner.

elle uk October issue 2023

Ncuti Gatwa, Florence Pugh and Gemma Chan on the quilt of Elle U.K.’s October issue.

The return of the awards is being commemorated with three special covers within the October issue featuring Gemma Chan, Ncuti Gatwa and Florence Pugh, who might be honored with the British icon award. Other notable names in the problem include Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, Dior and Fendi’s Kim Jones and Martine Rose.

“We’re moving to a spot where we would like every part that we do to feel like an event and a moment, fairly than identical to those isolated issue moments per 12 months or that one moment per thirty days where the problem hits. We wish to create that sense of occasion as much as possible,” said Hunt, explaining that magazines can now not just depend on September issues.

“The landscape has modified so radically and the meaning of that [September issues] has evolved. Even with these brands, it’s probably not just in regards to the print product anymore, or simply about that one moment,” she added.

Under Hunt’s editorship, the magazine has returned to its remit of covering women’s issues at large with a lighthearted and intelligent tone, from women’s reproductive autonomy to the pay gap issue inside the intersection of fashion, beauty and culture.

It was necessary for Hunt that her magazine reflect the 2020s and create a world where sustainability and identity are woven in fairly than used as throwaway concepts.

“Particularly throughout the Lorraine Candy years, they [Elle U.K.] really cultivated a readership who really cared about social issues. Once I joined Elle, feminism was a extremely big campaign on the time and canopy stars like Emma Watson were high performers,” she said.

Hunt’s cover faces to this point have included Haim, Yasmin Finney, Jodie Turner-Smith, Hunter Schafer, Emma Corrin, Micheal Ward and Daryl McCormack.

But Elle U.K. is as much a business because it is a project of affection for Hunt.

“Sometimes you think that that each one of that talk around profit and revenue cannot coexist with feelings of affection and keenness for what you do, but I’ve at all times loved this brand and it at all times felt like my magazine that I loved to read coming up and partly because I tended to see Black and Brown women greater than in a few of other media,” she said.

As editor in chief, Hunt, like many other editors in her remit, has needed to have a tighter grip on all of the moving parts fairly than simply specializing in the print product.

In July, Hearst Magazines, the publisher of Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan within the U.S., restructured its operations, cutting 41 staffers.

Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic

The 2021 edition of Hunt’s book of essays, “Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging within the Age of Black Girl Magic.”

In line with inside sources, an analogous restructure is imminent at Hearst U.K.

Elle U.K. reaches an audience of two million across print and digital every month, in line with the Publishers Audience Measurement Company. The magazine has a complete following of 9 million social media followers across all of its channels.

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