Say what you will about Rihanna and her lack of new music (and boy, do her fans have a lot to say), but the woman knows business. She knows what sells, and she does it well, using her power to redefine luxury and who has access to it. The most recent proof? Fenty’s first limited-edition 24-piece collaboration with the emerging London-based label Asai, a brand beloved by the kind of young creative people who tend to be on the cutting edge of trends.
“The alignment feels really symbiotic,” designer A Sai Ta tells British Vogue. “I think both brands have a ground-up approach. We draw inspiration from the streets and are for the real girls we know and love. We both target women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, who, in some ways, seek to lead. We’re all about championing big boss energy!”
When Rihanna moved to London earlier this year to work (work, work) closer to her Fenty team, she probably saw a lot of interesting people wearing Asai in real time as she walked around the city, incognito. In October, Rihanna wore an Asai signature tie-dye print in an Instagram video in which she walked to the pool with a Bottega Veneta clutch — perhaps, teasing the collection. (It wouldn’t be the first time she test-drove her products by wearing them.)
“Rihanna’s at the vanguard of contemporary culture,” Ta continued. “I really respect what it takes to push the envelope in these increasingly competitive times. She’s been an incredible supporter of my work.”
Bad Gal Ri Ri also just tapped another Instagram-famous name to work on Fenty: Amina Muaddi, the shoe designer who launched her brand a year ago and experienced instant success: everything sold out in a day. “I wanted to do things my way, so I launched on social media, just by posting it by myself,” Muaddi told Footwear News earlier this month. “I did what felt natural. And it turned out to be the right choice.” Like Rihanna, she operates within a “see-now, buy-now” business model and a “drop” system with her retailers. Rihanna’s stylist bought a few pairs of shoes for the singer, and earlier this month, hired her to design shoes on a freelance basis for Fenty. Models in Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show in September also wore Muaddi’s shoes.
What’s that saying about celebrities? They’re just like us, scrolling through Instagram for inspiration? At least for Rihanna, it seems to pay off.