Anna Wintour Leads Innovation

Anna Wintour, photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons

Anna Wintour, photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons

Ms. Wintour represents a world renown fashion icon, who has held the position as editor-in- chief of American Vogue since 1988. She is also the artistic director at Condé Nast, which publishes advanced mass media magazines such as Vanity Fair, Self, GQ, Glamour, Wired and many more. Back in 2006 popular comedy-drama film, The Devil Wears Prada was released where viewers saw a glimpse of Wintour’s hardened personality played by Meryl Streep. Now, 10 years later Wintour remains one of the most influential leaders in fashion and publishing. As Condé Nast adapts to new forces, however, employees are left unsettled. On Jan. 31, 2016, Wintour says in an interview with the New York Times, “ Why do people want to get stuck in the past?” Wintour knows the only way to keep fashion current is to change it.

On Feb. 1, 2016, Racked interviewed Wintour asking her to explain her leadership style. Wintour controlled this interview by instilling her own key messages.

1. Decisiveness means beneficial. Haven't you ever heard the old saying? "The truth shall set you free." 

2. Change is vital for innovation.  Moving forward with adapting to new forces is the only option in today's fast moving pace. 

3. Admits to being viewed with "an element of sexism." 

When asked to respond to allegations from staff who claim Wintour “ can be dismissive when displeased” Wintour replied, “"Come on," she said. "I am decisive, you know. I don’t believe in wasting anybody’s time. I like to be honest. I like to be clear. In my own personal career, I have felt almost the most difficult thing to deal with is someone who doesn’t tell you what they are thinking."

She did say however that she is often viewed with “ an element of sexism.”  This is something that used to bother her but now she says that if her leadership style is too direct for someone maybe they should toughen up.

Wintour’s key message is that change is innovative and necessary for the ever-evolving world of fashion and publications that she and her employees live in. Wintour feels her decisiveness is a good thing for the employees that got laid off in the transitions to new forces. This way she is not wasting anyone’s time.

There is sexism in the way she is viewed because she is so influential and powerful it’s not “feminine.” If she were a man, her role as a leader of the top fashion publications would not be as “powerful.”

Wintour discusses the way women are stereotyped in an interview with Forbes back in 2011. When she was asked, What’s your least favorite stereotype about powerful women?
She responds, “It’s not so much about powerful women. In some cases, there are stereotypes about women. I often don’t hear men talked about in the same way. It’s more a sexist stereotype than a powerful stereotype.”