Why Rihanna is truly making history with her new fashion label, Fenty

23 May 2019

WORDS BY Fashion Quarterly New Zealand

Launching next week, the luxury digital brand is comprised of clothes, shoes and accessories.

When the behemoth of luxury LVMH announced that it would be collaborating with Rihanna on more than just cosmetics (the conglomerate currently owns Fenty beauty) it made sure that the artist would be the first black woman to run a major luxury fashion company. Not that Rihanna is averse to making history – in the last couple of years alone, she has prioritised inclusivity with the brands she has developed.

First came Fenty beauty, which transformed the cosmetics industry thanks to its 40 different shades of foundation, followed by Savage x Fenty, size and gender inclusive approach to lingerie. In one fell swoop, Rihanna drastically altered the landscape of two of the least diverse elements of the fashion and beauty industries.


Now, LVMH has announced that Fenty, Rihanna’s new foray into clothes, footwear and accessories, will officially launch later this week with pop-up stores in Paris on May 24. It will then be available online from May 29 on Fenty.com, or what LVMH refers to as Fenty’s ‘digital flagship.


The collection itself is comprised of Rihanna’s inimitable mix of traditionally masculine tailoring and softer design elements. A sharp-shouldered blazer, for example, comes in sugary pink, while there are puff-sleeved stripe shirts and oversized denim jackets. There’s an interesting mix of materials, too, with denim, leather and a fabric called ‘Weapon’, to which Rihanna referred in a recent interview with the New York Times:

“One of [the fabrics] is called Weapon.19 That’s what we ended up making our suits in. Even making clothes in luxury is different. All the techniques are, like, ridiculous… I use myself as the muse. It’s sweatpants with pearls, or a masculine denim jacket with a corset. I feel like we live in a world where people are embracing every bit of who they are. Look at Jaden Smith or Childish Gambino. They dare you to tell them not to.”


Rihanna also spoke of the inclusivity of Fenty Beauty, saying: “In my own household, my father is half black, half white. My mom is black from South America. I was seeing diversity. That’s all I knew. Growing up, I wanted to be darker, always. So, making makeup, it wasn’t even a thing I had to think about. I didn’t even really know how bad it was, the void in the market for dark foundation because all I’d seen was black women put makeup on. I don’t even think 40 shades is enough! And so I added 10 more recently, and we’re not gonna stop there.”

Similarly, Rihanna has ensured that Fenty is more size inclusive, as most luxury brands fail to cater to sizes much bigger than a UK 14: “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 (the equivalent of a UK size 18). We’re saying we can meet you at any one drop that we put out.”

This article originally appeared on Grazia UK.

Words: Hannah Banks-Walker
Photos: Instagram

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