FENTY: A New Fashion Luxury House
Building Empires While Black.
Fashion brands are notorious for endorsing Black celebrities and artists as the face of their brands in order to reach a specific market. From Erykah Badu for Givenchy in Spring 2014 to Nicki Minaj for Roberto Cavalli in 2015, the strategy of utilizing the influence of Black artists for monetary gain has been prominent in fashion advertisements for quite some time. It makes sense, when Black bodies, art, music, and style drive and fun the markets. But it makes you wonder: Are there any brands who are sincerely interested in providing quality products to their bottom line: the marginalized? Is it possible that marginalized identities can be a priority clientele without being exploited?
All hope seemed lost until Rihanna teamed up with LVMH and launched her brand Fenty Beauty under Kendo Brands. Finally, a brand by a woman of color for women of color! Full transparency: there was a certain cynicalness lingering when thinking about the luxury conglomerate adopting the brand Fenty as their newest collection. Solely because the same brand, Marc Jacobs, was also launched under the beauty incubator with an exclusionary line to women of darker skinned tones and of various undertones. Goes to show that even with the sincere effort to provide quality products for marginalized groups, ownership still remains the “It” factor in authenticity and transparency for the consumer.
As the active CEO of the brand and taking full ownership of the brand’s image, Rihanna created Fenty Beauty from a standpoint of inclusivity for all. Fenty Beauty’s debut of 40 shades shook the table and disrupted the beauty industry; leaving other brands scrambling to comply given they were ignoring their bottom lines for decades. From Fenty Beauty came Savage x Fenty, a lingerie brand under the namesake focusing on inclusivity among diverse body types. And now, with Rihanna releasing her Fenty RTW Collection, Rihanna is now reported to own a full fashion luxury house; making her the first Black woman historically to do so. But this is more than a win for Rihanna and the diverse clientele. This is a win for the models, designers, and creatives that Rihanna employs. FENTY is not only claiming space but making room for more franchises, brands, and products that do not depend on Black dollars without hearing their genuine needs. FENTY is just the beginning…
Rihanna in FENTY for T Magazine
FENTY released its Release 5-19 collection* today via FENTY.com and the assortment includes eccentric structured suiting , denim wear, streetwear fusions, and accessories. The brand’s priceline is aligned with the rest of LVMH’s portfolio, yet, some members of her audience have still found a way to criticize the young Black entrepreneur for it. While it’s no surprise Black designers who enter into the luxury realm receive backlash from their own community, this particular post is about highlighting the successes of Robyn Fenty and this monumental moment for Black designers aspiring to one day have their very own well established luxury house.
*This article has been modified to correct the name of the latest FENTY collection