It’s always a good day when I get to praise Rihanna. She is easily one of my favorite people on the planet and there is not much anyone can do to change that.
Like many of us, my first encounter with Queen Rih was through her music. Hit songs like “Pon De Replay” and “Unfaithful” colored my childhood. A little later, records like “We Found Love” and “Diamonds” became global anthems that dominated my teen years. After more than a decade in the entertainment business, Rihanna has produced a lavish canon of music that ranges from pop to R&B to electronic with some unique, genre-bending tunes along the way. The woman’s music has always been incredibly multi-faceted, but how could any of us have predicted what a multi-hyphenate mogul she would become.
This is not my first time writing about Rihanna and I promise it will not be my last. The Pisces princess celebrated her birthday this Winter and naturally, we wanted to celebrate that here at I AM & CO. Earlier this year I wrote, “Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988 and since that fateful day the global superstar has been nonstop. In the past few years alone, she has celebrated a Grammy-nominated album, the launch of a massively successful makeup line, wooed and then broke up with a literal billionaire, created a line of body-positive and wickedly comfortable lingerie, received Harvard University’s Humanitarian of the Year award, and SO much more.”
All of this still holds true, and as impressive as these past experiences are, they hardly compare to the bright future she has ahead. Rihanna has officially taken her global domination plans to the next level. After dropping a few teasers by way of Instagram, it was FINALLY announced that Rihanna would be curating her own fashion line.
A few months back, Rih (am I even allowed to call her that?) joined forces with Bernard Arnault, an executive of the famed LVMH. For those who do not know, LVMH is a luxury good conglomerate that operates brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Celine, and Marc Jacobs. Now, it is Fenty’s home as well.
I will admit that when I first heard about this partnership it hardly sparked my interest. In no way was I surprised that Rihanna’s fashion was about to go worldwide. Rihanna has worked with other famous brands in the past like Puma, Manolo Blahnik, and Chopard; at this point, I almost expect it of her. Upon further investigation of what LVMH is and how this juggernaut of a company operates however, I realized what this collaboration represents is so much larger than another line of clothes.
Rihanna is a co-owner of her brand Fenty, not just a collaborator. Her name is stamped across the entire line, literally and figuratively. Rihanna approved clothes, jewelry, sunglasses, and shoes are all available right now for direct purchase. Yes, I AM serious right now. All you have to do is click here. Rather than go the runway route where designers preview styles but do not make them available to the public for several weeks there afterward, everything Fenty is ready-to-order.
In “Fashion of Business,” Rihanna is quoted as saying, “designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us. Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together.”
And the world is absolutely ready. According to “Forbes,” when Fenty Beauty was released in 2017 it earned $100 million dollars in sales during the first few weeks alone. Rihanna reportedly owns 15 percent of the total $3 billion worth. If Fenty Beauty is at all a predictor of Fenty fashion’s success, then I can’t even begin to fathom how well off this mighty woman is about to be.
Although she confesses that she did not realize this until long after saying “yes” to LVMH, with this epic move Rihanna has become the first black woman ever to head a luxury fashion line in all of LVMH’s 30+ year history. News like this is always a double-edged sword for me. As much as I want to praise the accomplishment, the reasons behind it upset me.
Although I did not study it in college, my very first job out of school was in the fashion industry. Fortunately for the company, I was not responsible for any new designs (I have been wearing the same graphic tees and dirty Adidas since 8th grade), but I did work very closely with the people responsible for making them. At that time, the lack of diversity amongst the top sellers, top buyers, and top designers in the industry did not even shock me, it was what I expected. I had never even thought to imagine that the fashion industry could be as colorful as the clothes that were created.
Looking back, I wish that I was more critical. I wish that I had posed more questions and called out the fashion business gatekeepers for keeping the same style moguls in power for decades. Fortunately, I think Rihanna is the perfect person to carry the torch forward.
Her commitment to inclusion and the celebration of all kinds of women has been evident from the jump. When Fenty Beauty launched with a line of 40 foundation ranges, it instantly influenced other brands to step up and do the same. (The Fenty Effect is real, y’all). When her stunning lingerie line Savage x Fenty was gifted to the world, Rih made sure that models of all shapes, sizes, and colors were used in promotional ads and videos.
Because of this, it is no surprise that this new Fenty LVMH collection is an inclusive one as well–body inclusive that is. Queen Rih is no stranger to weight fluctuation herself, so she made it a point that this luxury line be available to a wider range of women than is usually seen in the fashion industry. Rihanna often jokes about not being a sample size, so why would all of her clothes be? I’ve seen pieces ranging from 0 to 14 and while even this bandwidth does not represent the size of every woman, it opens the collection up to a huge chunk of the female population who do not traditionally see themselves represented in high fashion.
I am a curvy woman myself and I want to be very clear that I am one of the least fashion-forward people you will ever meet. I mean, I can throw together an outfit here or there, but I realized a long time ago that style and beauty were not the primary things I could offer the world. That being said, knowing that such a high-end brand is making designs and pieces with a body like my own in mind is infinitely encouraging.
I am not sure if Rihanna received a lot of pushback for her body inclusive outlook or if producing such a vast array of sizes makes things a lot harder for her team, but as a young and proudly thicc girl watching this all play out, I have to say that I’m thrilled. Imagine if a true array of body images were the norm across couture and high fashion—big and small bodies, brown and pale bodies, disabled and abled bodies. Now THAT is a world I would feel proud to partake in. Maybe, the only real solution is to make Rihanna the supreme ruler of us all.
I hardly want to mention this because just thinking about everything this glorious woman does in a day exhausts me, but the LVMH collab is not the only thing on Queen Rih’s plate. Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty are still releasing new products and collections regularly. A skincare line is rumored to be on its way. For the people who are strictly Rihanna stans for her music, no worries, an entire reggae album is confirmed for release within the next few years.
I hope you will all excuse me as I go take a nap.
At only 31 (31 you guys!!!!!!!) Rihanna has already stamped her name into the history books. She has become an empire unto herself—a position which is usually only held by male music moguls and businessmen like Jay Z, Dr. Dre, and Diddy. Her body of work is truly unprecedented and is made all the sweeter by the fact that she is a confident, young, fun, West Indian woman.
A big part of Rihanna’s success has always been her unapologetic attitude. I mean, the woman has a whole song about how good she is at sex for crying out loud. Whether it was as simple as shaving her hair or as complex as opening up about her personal experiences with domestic abuse, Ms. Fenty has never been afraid to bare it all. She is open about her triumphs, her failures, her fluctuating body, her new ideas, her flopped films, her Grammy-winning bangers. Rihanna takes us on the ride for it all and that is why I am so excited to support any new venture she sets her sights on.