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Why Rihanna's LVMH partnership is not only about her being black

The artist’s partnership, although a milestone for the community, is not only about being black

Why Rihanna's LVMH partnership is not only about her being black The artist’s partnership, although a milestone for the community, is not only about being black

In the past five years, we have witnessed one of the peaks of the greatness that is Rihanna. A US immigrant who moved from Barbados in the early 2000s and who has managed to attain a great level of international musical stardom. However, during this past demi-decade, we have seen the popstar spread her wings and exercise her power, not only as a musician but as a pop icon.
She has released her most critically acclaimed album Anti, became the creative director of women’s collection at PUMA, launched a lingerie line — Savage x Fenty, debuted a makeup line — Fenty Beauty, and most recently teamed up with French luxury conglomerate LVMH on the launch of her new clothing line Fenty Maison.  

The latter is being dubbed by many as a milestone for the black community as the artist will count as the first black woman to launch a fashion line under the French conglomerate. And although this is true, and this is a milestone for the history of the black community, let’s not be confused. LVMH did not hire Rihanna because of her expertise in fashion design, nor did they hire her in an attempt to diversify their team of designers. Like her friend celebrity DJ companion Virgil Abloh, at Louis Vuitton, they were hired simply because they sell, and their names sell

Nevertheless, this is not to undermine the value of Rihanna’s impact. In the past few years, she has managed to create a widely inclusive lingerie line that catered to the body types of many different women that has been completely sold out, produce a sneaker collection with PUMA in 2016 that sold out in less than an hour, and launch her Fenty Beauty line which is carried by Sephora (owned by LVMH), racking up 500 million euros in sales for 2018

So, of course, LVMH saw another fruitful opportunity and opted to capitalize on the singer’s selling power, and thankfully she just happened to be interested. With this partnership, LVMH has made their intentions perfectly clear — to sell. If Rihanna wasn’t Rihanna would she still have been hired? Or would they just aim to capitalize on the next hot thing? 

But although this partnership may be about the artist’s selling power more than anything else, thankfully the artist carries an interesting approach and aesthetic to the collection. In her interview with Times Magazine earlier this week @badgalriri revealed that the collection, although mainly inspired by her aesthetic and style, will cater to a wide range of body types and sizes. She also revealed that she is always looking out for young designers

So I am always looking at grad collections, who’s about to leave college, who wants a year here. And we’ve done that with a couple young designers and a couple new ones that are coming in… I’m welcoming everyone’s vision here, because that’s what it’s gonna take. I can’t just think I know everything.

So even if LVMH’s motives do seem to be a bit blurry, hopefully, Rihanna’s appointment and success will still help in paving the way for future competent, skilful designers of colour — even the ones without 71 million followers. 

The first peek of the collection released in the Times Magazine interview and through a video released earlier this week by the singer reveals a selection of denim and linen suit looks with strong shoulders, cinched waists and neutral colours. Which although may be nothing new in the world of fashion, will definitely be selling like hotcakes upon the opening of the pop-up store this Friday in Paris, and each week there will be new additions to the store and website, “like singles from an album,” or like sneaker drops.

Who knows, maybe the signer’s partnership and new method of fashion consumer exchange might even grow to develop a Supreme-like impact, with fans camping outside stores crashing websites.