Rihanna: An Icon In The Making Makes A Bold Return

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Celebrities Fashion & Style

Rihanna is back at the forefront of the entertainment realm with several upcoming projects that are set to cement her status as one of the preeminent icons of her generation. Certified as a billionaire since 2017 by Forbes, Robyn Rihanna Fenty has an impact that transcends the music world and is now firmly entrenched across several industries.

Beyond the Music

After making her presence known as a pop star, Rihanna made the decision to expand her brand, but unlike many music celebrities, Rihanna took Fenty to the top of the industry by offering a unique perspective. The striking Caribbean beauty is well-known for changing up her look and style with each new release, and the moxie she exudes in her music naturally gravitated towards the fashion industry, and her hard work paid off quickly. In 2014, she was honored by the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) with the Fashion Icon Award, recognizing her contributions in the industry. After being the muse to some of the world’s biggest fashion houses and the first woman of color to represent Dior, Rihanna stepped out on faith and made a lane for her own creations that have been culturally impactful for women all around the world.

@badgyalriri

From Muse To Mogul: The Revolution of Rihanna

Since launching her music career, the Caribbean beauty has always been known for her keen fashion sense, with her music videos initially introducing audiences to her signature looks, which have become a singular force across concrete jungles worldwide. Over the years, her red-carpet looks have led to sponsorships and endorsements from several high-end brands, and within only a few years, Rihanna was recognized as one of the top-earning entertainers for the fashion industry. Puma was one of the first major companies to approach Rihanna about a collaboration, making her not only a global ambassador for the brand but also a creative director. Under her leadership, her line of apparel achieved immediate success, paving the way for Fenty and positioning Rihanna as a force to be reckoned with in the world of fashion. The impact of Rihanna’s involvement in these ventures cannot be underestimated and through Fenty, she has proved her creativity and business acumen are not a fluke. Today, many up-and-coming artists are following the mogul’s blueprint as they seek to carve out their own space within the fashion industry.

The Force of Fenty: Building an Empire

In August of 2021, Forbes officially welcomed Rihanna on to their list of richest musicians in the world, with an estimated worth of $1.7 billion, more than any other woman in the industry.

How Rihanna has managed to ascend to the top of the fashion realm via music is an astonishing feat, especially considering the number of celebrities that have attempted in the past to capitalize on their fame through endorsements and ambassador roles in luxury fashion houses. One of the primary reasons for her success has been the dedication of her fans and powerful grassroots efforts. Dubbed ‘The Navy’, Rihanna’s fans have been studied over the years by marketing firms and have demonstrated that they are more loyal and supportive of Rihanna than most fans are to other celebrities. To date, Rihanna’s social media impact is massive, figures that have translated into billions of dollars in sales for not only her companies, but for those that she enters into partnerships with. And in a move that goes against the grain of most performers, Rihanna is not only heavily involved with her own brand, but also produces high-end fashion with competing companies as a freelancer – one recent example was her collaboration with Swiss jewelry maker Chopard. The limited edition collection included pieces that started with a price point of $1,000. Brands that want to catch some of the ‘Rihanna effect’ have also approached the star to tout their own capsule collections.

Rihanna is the first women of color to successfully launch a luxury fashion entity, with three of her businesses – Fenty Beauty, Fenty Skin, Savage x Fenty – cementing her global reach deep into the industry. With each endeavor, she has changed the blueprint and expanded demographics that previously had been ignored throughout the fashion world. Fenty can lay claim to operating like no other mainstream brand before it, creating lines and collections aimed at more inclusivity and towards women of color. Rihanna’s groundbreaking release of a 40-shade line has resulted in her competitors adopting this model for their future campaigns. Combined with an active social media campaign and product placement, the brand reported more than half a billion in revenue in the first year – proof that the ‘Rihanna effect’ is not a fluke.

@badgyalriri

A Return to Music Through The ‘Wakanda Forever’ Soundtrack

With her fashion empire firmly intact, Rihanna has returned to music in a major way in 2022. Her first song in nearly seven years recently premiered as part of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack and was met with widespread acclaim. Featuring Tems, Rihanna co-wrote the powerful ballad as a tribute to the late actor Chadwick Boseman and already it is being mentioned as a possible contender for Best Song at next year’s Academy Awards. Speculation continues to mount on a possible album of all-new music and where Rihanna intends to take fans sonically. With rumors swirling of a return to her native Caribbean roots, she has everyone guessing as to where her musical passions will flow next.

Rihanna and A$AP at the ‘Wakanda Forever’ Premiere
photo credit: Parade

The red carpet has been eagerly awaiting Rihanna’s return and she did not disappoint.

In true Rihanna style, the chanteuse and fashionista dazzled her millions of fans worldwide with her return to the red carpet after giving birth to her first child with partner A$AP Rocky nearly six months ago. The superstar duo showed why they are trendsetters, coordinating their looks in a light pistachio green hue as the paparazzi took them both in. In a floor-length Rick Owens gown from his 2022 fall/winter collection, Rihanna had heads turning and flashbulbs popping! With her waist-length hair flowing in loose waves, complete with smokey eyes and bronze lipstick, the sequined leather dress was strapless and featured a bandeau neckline, fishtail skirt, beige gloves for an added touch, and earrings from lauded Paris-based jeweler Reza. Meanwhile, A$AP Rocky held up his end of the fashion bargain by wearing a structured khaki-grey jacket with matching loose-fitted trousers, a black T-shirt, and Rick Owens sneakers.

2023 is also set to be a banner year for Rihanna, when she finally makes her debut at Super Bowl LVII. Refusing to perform at the show a few years ago in support of Colin Kaepernick, Jay-Z and Roc Nation finally convinced Rihanna to lend her voice to the biggest event in all of sports. Fans can expect not only an impressive set that will cover her entire catalog of now-classic songs but quite possibly turning the football field into a runway that features pieces from her upcoming Fenty releases. Everything she touches has been a huge success and there are no signs of slowing down. No matter what Rihanna decides to do, the world is her stage and we all will be watching.

Triston Brewer

Triston Brewer is a performance artist, journalist, activist, and fearless bon vivant. He has been published in The Huffington Post and featured in New York Times, Vogue Italia, Washington Post, Turkish Huriyet to name a few. As a jetsetter traveling across the continents, Triston is a dandy not just covering fashion, but discovering it!