Robyn Rihanna Fenty is back at it again. The 31-year-old popstar is famous for her unique sound and daring style, but she can no longer be limited to her persona as a musician. Rihanna is also an actress, trendsetter, entrepreneur and now respected clothing designer.
Rihanna has collaborated with brands such as Puma and Armani in the past. Those collaborations did nothing to stop the “Umbrella” singer from stepping outside the box and making strides towards curating and designing her own luxury clothing brand.
The Fenty collection was originally released in May 2019. Rihanna turned heads with the nontraditional approach to luxury fashion, especially under the wings of Louis Vuitton and Dior (LVMH).
An interview with The New York Times revealed the designer intentionally chose to do online distribution rather than the typical lengthy process of waiting for installments to be released to consumers. The singer also wanted to strip away the custom of runway shows to advertise the merchandise. “I want to be as disruptive as possible,” Rihanna told the Times. “The brand is not traditional.”
It is the lack of tradition, boldness and power of femme that attracts millennials to the Fenty clothing line. The pieces have a mix of both masculine and feminine qualities, yet the style remains timeless. Additionally, similar to Fenty Beauty, the luxury clothing line has set its sights on representation. The brand is holding itself accountable to representing every color, every size and every style.
I will admit that I was one of the first millennials to jump onto the bandwagon with haste. But, after seeing the first installment of the clothing and then the next, that is no longer the case.
The initial release of clothing was a mix of basic and staple pieces, including tops, pants, jackets, shoes and accessories. While each piece is unique, one issue resonated with me: the price.
Given that Fenty is a luxury brand, people expect the price range to be more on the high end. The lowest-priced item currently on the Fenty website is a plain baseball cap, with the company name embellished on the back, at $180. Yet, according to the new fashion house, Fenty is one of the lowest-priced luxury brands on the market in order to remain competitive while still catering to different demographics.
But Rihanna is not known to exhibit what is expected and neither should the fashion house she is running.
“You know, when I was younger, I couldn’t afford everything, but a pair of Timberlands: That was my Dior. And I had to save my money for a whole school year to get those Timberlands that I wanted, and I did it,” the artist said. “It’s the thing that keeps me asking: So how much is this gonna cost at retail? How can we bring the price down without compromising on quality?”
While the question of pricing is being considered, it does little to ease the loss of an entire demographic: college students.
Unless you are fortunate enough to work a well-paying job, college students, including myself, will not be able to invest in Fenty clothing. One can work hard and save as Rihanna did; however, most students have bigger fish to fry, such as student loan debt.
When Rihanna first announced Fenty, I was excited to hear about the clothing line for more than one reason. Rihanna works diligently to make sure her products are inclusive, and she is a black woman running a business with ethical practices.
But as a college student, the Fenty clothing line would not be within my budget.
Rihanna spoke to the interviewer about loving young people and being able to provide them with quality products. But at those rates, it is clear the collection is not meant to appeal to students looking to purchase affordable pieces. “I hope I can reach a broad audience,” the singer and designer said.
Rihanna just might. The popstar’s flawless foundation and more grossed over $500 million within the first year of launching Fenty Beauty. It is still too early to anticipate how well the clothing line will flourish on the market; however, it is fair to say Rihanna has the capability to reach large audiences.
But college students are not bound to be a part of that audience, at least not with this luxury collection.
When purchasing the Fenty brand, one can expect good quality and a perfect fit for them in a range of different styles. The online website currently displays two installments of clothing, one from the initial release of Fenty and another launched a month later.
The new installment includes more feminine pieces such as printed tops ($250), tank dresses ($490) and denim pants ($400). The items are classics for the summer that allow customers the chance to dress up or dress down, “whatever they want,” as Rihanna said.
Style director of Fenty and Rihanna’s stylist, Jahleel Weaver, commented on how they went about creating the clothing line. “The mission is to speak to how multifaceted today’s woman is,” he said. “We’re thinking about each release as a different facet to a woman’s wardrobe and how she approaches dressing. Luxury has been defined in the past as one woman, one brand.”
I found the second launch more appealing than the first, which further discouraged me because of the high prices of the pieces. Additionally, while the clothing is designed by Rihanna, the styling and articles of clothing are nothing new to the fashion industry.
The models pictured wear outfits one could easily find at more affordable retailers, which begs the question: Why should anyone purchase Fenty clothing if it’s nothing different from what is already seen on the market?
Rihanna sees the familiarity of the cuts and styles as part of the appeal. “I see a lot of these pieces as classic pieces,” the popstar said. “They’re not gonna go out of style.”
However, with that statement, the singer herself gave college students in particular even more reason to not waste their money. These classic pieces will never go out of style; therefore, anyone could find the same staple styles elsewhere.
With Fenty, you’re essentially paying for the brand name and the bragging rights, but I don’t think these perks are worth breaking the bank over.