Pop star Rihanna’s entrepreneurial ways continued this week as her new luxury fashion line debuted under the Fenty brand.
The recording artist previously introduced the world to Fenty Beauty, which is the makeup line of her growing, female-powered empire. The Rihanna fashion brand additionally contains pieces that display a forward-thinking, gender-neutral approach. Rihanna’s involvement in this new line also marks three historic firsts. For one, she’s become the first female designer with an original LVMH Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton SE brand. Secondly and thirdly, Rihanna can now boast that she’s the first woman of color and the first black woman to sit at the head of a large luxury fashion house.
Return of the 1980s
For the past few years, 1980s-inspired choices have ruled many clothing stores. Rihanna’s Fenty line incorporates some of these touches but also upgrades the classic ‘80s look with a more modern flair. For example, fanny packs are back in the Suit Jacket with Fanny Pack combo. However, this Italian-made outfit has nothing in common with the casual look usually paired with fanny packs.
Rihanna’s chosen aesthetic receives another bump toward modern – and even futuristic – times with a series of sunglasses referred to as “masks.” The large, bold appearance of the Blockit Mask makes an unmissable statement. The Fenty line also has a pair of sunglasses for those who don’t feel up to socializing. Dubbed the Antisocial Sunglasses, the Bossy Brown lens design provides the perfect way to avoid mingling.
Pricing Controversy Stirs Up Big Debate on Twitter
Rihanna’s partnership with LVMH has garnered a lot of attention and controversy due to the exorbitant price tags on each piece. For instance, her sunglasses sell for $420 to $460 each. The Suit Jacket With Fanny Pack retails for $1,100, and that’s not the most expensive item in the Fenty fashion line. A Corset T-Shirt selling for $250 attracted a lot of ire among Twitter users. Although, many also rightfully pointed out that luxury means high prices.
Of course, the debate about Fenty’s prices ignores the long tradition of celebrity fashion lines priced far outside the budget of the typical middle-class American. Former Full House child actors turned fashion moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen bring this point home with their line, The Row. For instance, The Row features a $320 Wesler Short-Sleeve Top and an Alba Mock-Neck Silk Gown selling for $6,250 from Neiman Marcus. Also, the Victoria Beckham fashion line sells Classic Navigator sunglasses for $425. Beckham’s pricing for the designer sunglasses puts them on par with Rihanna’s line.
Rihanna’s Non-Fashion Business History
Not content to simply be a hit recording artist, Rihanna started launching other business ventures in 2005. She’s released several successful perfume fragrances and has partial ownership over the streaming service, Tidal. The songbird also owns her own music label, Westbury Road Entertainment.
In 2015, Rihanna’s business interests increased even further with the launch of Fr8me, a stylist and beauty agency. Two years later, she launched Fenty Beauty, her first partnership with LVMH. Time Magazine named Fenty Beauty one of the 25 Best Inventions in 2017, due in large part to the line’s commitment to offering makeup for every skin tone. As Rihanna said, “it was important that every woman felt included.”
Fashion Partnerships and Unique Lines
While Rihanna oversaw a variety of personal entrepreneurial ventures and a best-selling music career, she also turned her eye to fashion. Armani gave Rihanna her first shot in the fashion world by partnering with her in 2011. River Island snatched her up next, and she created four lines for the British brand before moving on to other opportunities.
Since 2014, Rihanna has become the first black spokesperson for Dior and served as Puma’s sportswear creative director. She earned high praise from Vogue for her Fenty x Puma Spring 2017 line: “Sometimes when a famous person tries his or her hand at another discipline, the results can be uneven…And yet there are those special cases when making the switch leads to a good surprise…Judging by the collection she showed today, we can add Rihanna to that list.”
Body Positive Approach
As Rihanna switched from fashion partnerships to launching her own lines, she placed a major emphasis on offering sizes for multiple body types. Savage, her lingerie line, has bras that range from 32A to 44DD. In a similar vein, the Rihanna fashion brand, Fenty, offers some items in sizes 2/XS all the way to 14/XXXL.
— British Vogue (@BritishVogue) May 23, 2019
Rihanna’s decision to promote body positivity partially stems from online trolls bashing her for having what she’s dubbed, “a fluctuating body type.” Choosing to create clothing for a diverse group of women also gives Rihanna a much bigger pool of potential consumers, thereby helping ensure that her fashion lines are a success.