How FENTY is Changing Fashion

Internally stylish and a perpetual risk-taker, Rihanna has been an integral part of the fashion world for as long as she’s been famous. From the iconic red wig to those inexplicable pictures of her walking over grates in stilettos, to her unforgettable pope costume at the 2018 Met Gala (and of course, her noticeable absence at the 2019 Gala), if Rihanna’s wearing it, we love it. So it was no surprise when the singer/songwriter/actress/businesswoman/multi-millionaire took the fashion industry by storm.


In the past five years alone, Rihanna expanded her career from that of a (legendary) pop star to a business mogul––from her lingerie line to her groundbreaking makeup collection (with a total of 40 unique shades ranging from pale to dark skin). When she announced that she was creating a luxury brand, I was somehow completely in the middle of, “I can’t believe this is happening” and “it’s about time!”


If you’re new to this or you’re just looking for a place to get started when it comes to Rihanna’s fashion line, FENTY, here’s just a few essential points:


Before the line even hit the runway in Paris, there was already controversy about the price point. Unlike her past ventures (which have been relatively affordable), even the cheapest items are marked at well over $200. Some fans wondered if this is truly inclusive, as the line is described as being made “for the modern woman.” One article even went as far as to call the line “a classist hypocrisy.” While certainly the line is expensive, this seems a bit overreaching for something marketed as luxury clothing.


Other fans went on to point out that we don’t demand this sort of “inclusivity” from other brands. We don’t insist on $20 Gucci belts or Prada bags because we understand that luxury means expensive. While I’d love to live in a world that hands out quality designer clothes at department store prices, I know that’s just about as realistic as Rihanna finally gracing us with her new album (seriously, it’s been three years, we’re dying!).


Either way, my ultimate takeaway is the same: I cannot afford these clothes. I’ll still be rooting for her utmost success, but until this creative writing degree starts to pay off, I think I’ll have to sit this one out.


Price aside, Rihanna’s step into the luxury world is a historical one in the fashion world. Launching her line in conjunction with LVMH––a luxury conglomerate that is home to big names such as Louis Vuitton––the FENTY Collection is making headlines in more ways than one. With Bernard Arnault at her side, FENTY is the first brand launched from scratch (as opposed to buying an already created brand) to come out of LVMH since the 1980s. In an even bigger moment for fashion, Rihanna is now the first black woman to head a brand for the conglomerate.


As though her very presence in the luxury world wasn't enough, the brand itself is once again dedicated to the inclusion of all bodies. Rihanna herself said of the sizing: “I'm thick and curvy right now, and so if I can't wear my own stuff, then, I mean, that's not gonna work, right? And my size is not the biggest size. It's actually closer to the smallest size we have: We go up to a [French size] 46.” A refreshing change of pace from the stereotypical “model” body, Rihanna redefines who luxury includes.


Described by the FENTY website as a collection of “statement pieces”, the line plays not only with appealing to a wide range of body types, but also with a striking combination of feminine and masculine elements. With oversized jackets and bejeweled accessories (most notably the ear cuff, which I guess we’ve all got to get into now), the collection is a fun clash of hard and soft.


Although the clothes themselves are well made and feature structured garments fit for, well, Rihanna, the standouts (as highlighted by the FENTY website) are certainly the shoes and accessories.


While I couldn’t for the life of me construct a cohesive outfit with these, the bright green “affair pumps” are calling my name. After all, imagine how many grates you could stomp past with ease. The power!

These “blockt mask” sunglasses exude futuristic, sci-fi, feminine energy. I could see myself saving the universe––or just rolling up to class five minutes late––in so much style.

Of course, what’s any outfit without your “roped in rose-tone ear cuffs”? Right? I don’t totally understand how to put them in, but if I ever rustle up $600 in spare change and watch a couple Youtube tutorials, it’s over for all of you.

If you’re at all like me, this is all a little overwhelming. We are watching the future of fashion unfold right before our eyes and it’s beautiful. It’s Rihanna. There are many takeaways from this line: “luxury” is no longer synonymous with skinny and white, Rihanna will probably run the entire world within a few years, and I need about $10,000 for a FENTY shopping spree. Since this piece is largely dedicated to her sheer power, I’ll let Ms. Robyn Rihanna Fenty have the last word:


“Inspired by a worldwide community beyond traditional boundaries, FENTY embraces a fundamental freedom: a freedom from convention and rules. Women are forces of this earth. We are multifaceted, complex, vulnerable yet bulletproof, and FENTY speaks to all of our intricacies. Some days I want to be submissive, many days I’m completely in charge and most days I feel like being both….so it was imperative that we created a line versatile enough to embrace and celebrate us in that way.”