LONDON — This summer time, Kenya Hunt, the editor in chief of Elle U.Okay., had a full-circle second since she joined the journal in March 2022.
“I can’t say I’m new within the function anymore, or something like that. Shortly after the September subject hit newsstands, I left and went on vacation, to have time to step away from it — to pause and replicate on every part,” she mentioned throughout an interview at Dover Road Market’s Rose Bakery.
Hunt isn’t new to Elle U.Okay. She joined the shiny journal in 2015 as its style options director below then-editor Lorraine Sweet, then was promoted to deputy editor below Sweet’s successor, Anne-Marie Curtis, adopted by a brief interim interval as editor till Farrah Storr, editor of Cosmopolitan within the U.Okay., took the reins in 2019 earlier than resigning in 2021.
Earlier than the appointment of Storr, staffers at Elle U.Okay. had at all times guess on Hunt to turn into editor. She was fashionable amongst senior and junior members of the workforce; well-connected and appreciated within the style sphere, and her perspective to magazine-making didn’t run on the steam of the glory days of style publishing.
Earlier than her anticipated return to Elle U.Okay., Hunt took the place of style director and deputy editor at Grazia U.Okay. in November 2020 and printed a set of private essays, “Lady: Essays on Black Womanhood.”
“Regardless that I’ve labored inside ladies’s media for the overwhelming majority of my working life on a reasonably linear observe, I’ve at all times come at it from the standpoint of an outsider for a variety of causes, whether or not it’s my expertise as a transplant to New York, having come from Virginia; as a girl of coloration working in predominantly white areas, and as an American, having moved to the U.Okay. and crafted a life for myself,” defined Hunt, about what it means to be within the scorching seat at Elle U.Okay.
“You must be actually inventive to check a spot for your self, in areas the place you don’t naturally see your self mirrored,” she added.
Hunt is conscious about the ever-changing media panorama. She just lately got here again from Cannes Lions, the place the massive debate was synthetic intelligence, however she stays optimistic as she reminisces in regards to the digital disruption that was happening throughout her coming of age in her profession.
“The [role] fashions that I had once I was arising, that period is over and gone with, however I believe the gorgeous factor is that we’re on this new chapter the place issues are evolving and altering,” mentioned Hunt.
Hunt’s era of journal editors has set ambitions and quite a few aspect hustles. Her assortment of essays is being taken to the small display by FilmNation TV UK; she’s eager to jot down one other ebook, and is an lively mentor to these arising within the style business by way of R.O.O.M Mentoring, a program that advocates for higher range inside the inventive industries.
Since becoming a member of the journal, a variety of new tasks have been brewing on the title, together with “Why I… Transfer,” a podcast in partnership with Nike that’s been renewed for a second season; the return of the Elle Type Awards on Sept. 5, that final occurred in 2017; Elle Collective, a brand new subscription platform for readers to work together with the making of the journal, and the launch of a brand new publication.
“Earlier than even setting foot again within the constructing, I knew I needed to convey again the Elle Type Awards as a result of it’s such a core a part of who we’re and having that chance to have fun the very best of British style,” mentioned Hunt in regards to the upcoming challenge, the place Tiffany & Co. is a headline accomplice.
The return of the awards is being commemorated with three particular covers within the October subject that includes Gemma Chan, Ncuti Gatwa and Florence Pugh, who might be honored with the British icon award. Different notable names within the subject embrace Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, Dior and Fendi’s Kim Jones and Martine Rose.
“We’re transferring to a spot the place we wish every part that we do to really feel like an occasion and a second, somewhat than similar to these remoted subject moments per yr or that one second per thirty days the place the difficulty hits. We wish to create that sense of event as a lot as potential,” mentioned Hunt, explaining that magazines can now not simply depend on September points.
“The panorama has modified so radically and the that means of that [September issues] has developed. Even with these manufacturers, it’s probably not simply in regards to the print product anymore, or simply about that one second,” she added.
Beneath Hunt’s editorship, the journal has returned to its remit of masking ladies’s points at massive with a lighthearted and clever tone, from ladies’s reproductive autonomy to the pay hole subject inside the intersection of style, magnificence and tradition.
It was necessary for Hunt that her journal replicate the 2020s and create a world the place sustainability and identification are woven in somewhat than used as throwaway ideas.
“Notably in the course of the Lorraine Sweet years, they [Elle U.K.] actually cultivated a readership who actually cared about social points. Once I joined Elle, feminism was a extremely massive marketing campaign on the time and canopy stars like Emma Watson have been excessive performers,” she mentioned.
Hunt’s cowl faces thus far have included Haim, Yasmin Finney, Jodie Turner-Smith, Hunter Schafer, Emma Corrin, Micheal Ward and Daryl McCormack.
However Elle U.Okay. is as a lot a enterprise as it’s a challenge of affection for Hunt.
“Generally you suppose that each one of that discuss round revenue and income can’t coexist with emotions of affection and keenness for what you do, however I’ve at all times cherished this model and it at all times felt like my journal that I cherished to learn arising and partly as a result of I tended to see Black and Brown ladies greater than in a few of different media,” she mentioned.
As editor in chief, Hunt, like many different editors in her remit, has needed to have a tighter grip on all of the transferring elements somewhat than simply specializing in the print product.
In July, Hearst Magazines, the writer of Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan within the U.S., restructured its operations, slicing 41 staffers.
In keeping with inside sources, the same restructure is imminent at Hearst U.Okay.
Elle U.Okay. reaches an viewers of two million throughout print and digital every month, in keeping with the Publishers Viewers Measurement Firm. The journal has a complete following of 9 million social media followers throughout all of its channels.