Rihanna has just dropped her Fenty fashion line and the world has lots of feelings.
First looks at Rihanna’s Fenty Brand.
She is officially the first Black woman to run a major luxury fashion house. pic.twitter.com/EGZIksj9Fa
— Blk Girl Culture (@blkgirlculture) May 20, 2019
— A.GUILLARD (@Drew_Successful) May 23, 2019
Me? I have just three feelings:
- OH MY GOD SO PRETTY.
- OH MY GOD SO EXPENSIVE.
- OH MY GOD I LOVE RIHANNA.
They’re all pretty self-explanatory but my love for Rihanna, in this case, stems from a lot more than her just being a boss babe. I love her because she’s pushing boundaries. Rihanna is doing with Fenty what the fashion industry should have done years ago: using real photos to sell products to real people.
The promotional photos for her fashion range are a mix of un-retouched images and images which celebrate cultural ethnicity. The photos are deliberate and tell high-end fashion labels like Chanel and Michael Kors that their wafer thin models and white washed campaigns are unwanted and outdated.
Take this photo which pays homage to the work and vision of Kwame Brathwaite:
Kwame is an African American photographer known for documenting life and culture in Harlem.
Rihanna choosing to emulate his work in her own shows a profound respect. It says “I see you” to all people of colour without actually saying anything thing at all.
Rihanna also spoke about how Fenty’s campaign imagery was inspired by the Grandassa Models. This was a black modeling group co-founded by Kwame Brathwaite.
They were the faces of the ‘Black is Beautiful’ movement + posed in much of his imagery pic.twitter.com/PNaVaiyjWS
— Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombSHEL) May 29, 2019
The main promotional photo used for the Fenty accessories collection also says a lot:
i love that the images used on fenty are not retouched, and that the models skin is not perfect by societal standards pic.twitter.com/8iDQ9BgUz0
— Farah | فرح (@xfarahalyx) May 29, 2019
Another user called the photo “perfect because it’s real,” while another explained how the photo personally resonated with her.
Wow! As a girl with scars, this really touches my heart. I’ve never had any reason to feel less terrible about my scars until seeing this.
— Aughra Ptolemy (@Human47118627) May 29, 2019
The model in the photo, Aweng Chuol, has spoken about her scars before, telling Dazed Digital that though she understands the “curiosity,” she ultimately wants to be known as more than “just a scar.”
“Sometimes I just want to shout at everyone: ‘Look at me, I’m not just a scar, I’m a human.’ But I get it, it’s a curiosity. I know I’m different, I know my facial features are different, but to me that’s beauty.”
And that is exactly what Rihanna has aimed to do with her Fenty campaign, not just for Aweng but for all women of the world.
People, REAL people, don’t want to see a perfect model wearing perfect clothes. They want to see themselves and their culture and their way of life reflected.
We all want to feel included in the world of catwalks and high fashion. Fenty continually achieves this.