HONORING ENNINFUL: The 49th annual Frederick Douglass Awards, hosted by the New York Urban League last Wednesday night, honored W’s fashion and style director Edward Enninful, New York State Education Commissioner John King Jr. and the corporate team at CVS Caremark.

This story first appeared in the May 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Guests came from the worlds of fashion, nonprofits, local government and media, among others, to pay homage to the honorees. Drawing the most attention were the “fashion” tables, which were positioned in front of the stage, where singer Alice Smith would later perform between courses. Sitting at those tables were Diane von Furstenberg, Iman, Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell, who presented Enninful with his award at the end of the night.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world,” Campbell said, as she introduced Enninful, whom she has known for 28 years. Likening him to a “brother,” Campbell gave a personal speech. “We walk alike. We look alike,” the supermodel said, before hastily correcting herself: “I mean, we talk alike.”

That line drew laughter — even from Campbell, who embraced Enninful as he accepted the award moments later.

The editor played off of that moment, calling Campbell a “sister,” and playfully suggesting that they “even look alike” — a line that was met with guffaws — before he delved into deeper issues. Enninful noted that the fashion industry does not yet have equality for people of color, and explained that he’s “been lucky,” having worked with powerful editors such as Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington and Stefano Tonchi.

“But what if we lived in a world where luck had nothing to do with it, where high-quality education was provided to every student no matter the color of their skin or where they grew up?” he remarked. “I can tell you, without diversity, creativity remains stagnant.”

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