When it comes to fashion, beauty and overall bad-assness, there is one person who we all admire: Rihanna Fenty. The Barbadian icon has paved the way for women and people of color in almost every industry. She has transformed her enormous popularity from her music career into a billion-dollar empire. Newly labeled “the richest woman in music” surpassing long reigning champs Madonna and Celine Dion, Rihanna has become a powerhouse we’ve never seen, showing the true power of what Black-owned brands bring to the table.
Known for her outlandish outfits, Rihanna has given birth to phrases such as, “it’s not cute until Rihanna wears it,” or “Rihanna can wear anything.” With such a big hype to live up to and such a notable reputation it was only the smartest move to drop a fashion brand. Leave it up to the mega star to create not only fashion but luxury clothing. Rihanna is now the owner of her very own 600-million-dollar fashion brand. Starting by being creative director of Puma, she got her first whiff of being the frontrunner of a brand people were wearing. Fenty, which began as one of the first brands to include a larger range of shades including more variations for darker skin colors, transformed itself into a beautiful makeup brand that now includes highlighters, lip glosses and more. “I’ve been slowly evolving throughout the fashion world,” Rihanna told The New York Times, “First wearing it, buying it, being recognized for my style and then collaborating with brands. I never just wanted to put my name on something and sell my license. I’m very hands-on, so I wanted to take it slowly and gain respect as a designer.” The multi-faceted artist was the first Black woman to join the Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy (LVMH) empire along with other brands such as Fendi, Dior and other high rollers. This is also the first time the company has added a brand under their belt since 1987.
However, with luxury comes a price, sometimes even a hefty price. Rihanna created a brand that was high fashion and, in turn, a portion of people were not happy about the price point. It seems as though no one juxtaposed the idea of quality and money when the advertisements came out. The thought of Rihanna launching a brand that would be in the best budget for college students, for example, could have been due to the price point of her beauty line, Fenty Beauty. While it’s still quite expensive compared to the drug store brands of make up it doesn’t exactly break the bank with its $18 lip glosses. Also, on the list of Rihanna’s more affordable products, her company SavagexFenty, does not cost too much of a pretty penny either. The brand sells undergarments such as their wide range of sized panties and bralettes for as low as even $20. On June 19, 2019 when Fenty first opened up for the world to shop, the bustier white dress tops, one-piece denim dresses and retro-styled glasses all caught everyone’s eye, but the price threw everyone for a loop. The cost of a pair of glasses by Fenty started roughly at the cost of $300. It came as a surprise to the customers who were used to quality products, but low-pricing associated with each item.
Being in the social media age of the world this divided the internet in two. Half of consumers were of the opinion that this reaction is what is expected when you are dropping a luxury clothing brand under the famous name LVMH. The other half complained and said that the price was simply too high. This started the argument that people believe when a Black brand is the face of something it automatically has to be cheaper because that is what everyone expects.
Nonetheless, whichever side you may seem to fall on, this is not detering Rihanna from creating anything her heart desires. Never addressing comments such as these, the star talked about creating this line all from her own artistic expression; “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,” Fenty told Business Insider. She says she never puts out anything that she would not wear herself. These items come straight off the runway to your closet, which she prides herself on being the first innovator to do. Surely, other high quality brands will soon begin to follow suit due to consumers living in the moment of now and having everything accessible to themselves within seconds or days.
There is a high importance placed on what this brand represents that is far more than fashion — it displays the mark of a new era; an era that includes genderless clothing, people of all body types and no limit on what the front runner of the show looks, sounds or comes from. “I’m young. I’m new to the family. I’m a woman. Those factors do come into play, but I will not apologize for them, and I will not back down from being a woman, from being Black, from having an opinion. I’m running a company and that’s exactly what I came here to do,” Rihanna informs Time Magazine. As a child who grew up on the island of Barbados, to now being one of the richest women in the world, it is hard to put a limit on the possibilities of someone’s dreams. The world is changing, and whether Rihanna is making music or creating clothing, one thing’s for sure: she’s shown us the power of having a widely inclusive brand. Using her influence, she has inspired others by showing that everyone matters, and anything is possible.