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The Evolution of Rihanna: From Small Island Girl To Big-Time Female Boss

Rihanna first captured the world with her fresh face, innocent island girl persona and a sound that infused Caribbean rhythms with a natural R&B flow of the early ’00s. Since then Robyn Rihanna Fenty has gone on to not only surpass everyone in the league, she’s created her own; no line is too far to cross and no boundary exists for her when it comes to taking over the world. It’s a Rih-volution people!

When news broke that Rihanna was launching an eponymous fashion house under the LVMH family, my first thoughts were ‘Wow, is there anything this woman can’t do?’ and ‘Wow, Rihanna really that b*tch’. It was refreshing to see that a woman who since the beginning of her business ventures has aimed to make everyday women, regardless of creed and color, feel seen, beautiful and their best. It can often appear at times that successful black women are few and far between – apparent in the fact that Rihanna is the first black woman to create an original brand under the famous French luxury conglomerate, joining the likes of Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Fendi- when really it’s more to do with how we are represented and what light society would like us to sit under.

Fenty atelier is centered around Rihanna’s personal style and is all about her vision for the future of luxury womenswear. She has described women as being “multifaceted, complex, vulnerable yet bulletproof” and has meant for Fenty to speak to all our intricacies. At the heart of this collection are strong silhouettes and lengthening lines meant to accentuate all a woman’s best features. With an array of denim’s from dark to white and muted pops of coral and tan, there is a style and color for every occasion. The highlights were a bold shouldered white blazer dress with a built-in belt bag expertly cinched at the waist, Swarvoski encrusted ear-cuffs and bracelets and emerald snakeskin-esque pointed heels. All pieces will be available online from May 29 and will be provided on a see now, wear now basis once it hits the runway!

Rihanna is no stranger when it comes to fashion and styling. Constantly slaying the red carpet, she has had a style evolution that would make any 20 something-year-old envious. She’s played around with pixie cuts and dark colors to the synonymous red hair of ‘Loud’ and back in 2014, she became creative director of Puma Women, cementing her foothold in the fashion industry.

Having sold over 250 million records, Rihanna is one of the best-selling music artists of our generation, and with an influence that extends past her 71million Instagram followers, it would’ve been easy for her to distance herself from ‘real world problems’, but she’s done the complete opposite. She is the definition of a trailblazer.

The 2017 launch of her make-up brand Fenty Beauty was a direct challenge to the beauty market and the lack of choice for women with a skin-tone darker than a mocha latte. Rihanna launched her brand with an offering of 40 all-inclusive shades – demonstrating that women come in tones and shades that exist outside of ivory, tan and coffee.

Fast-forward a year and a whole lot of Trophy Wife later and she had us snatched on to Savage x Fenty, a lingerie line that has women’s style, taste, and attitude at the center of it. Again, it was refreshing to see a multitude of skin tones and body sizes that put the likes of Victoria Secret to shame and let us not forget the iconic moment Slick Woods rocked the runway at 9 months pregnant! Rihanna has embraced the female body in all its wonderful forms, reminding everyone that women are strong, powerful and resilient. We deserve to be celebrated and we deserve to feel sexy in the skin that we are blessed with!

What sets Rihanna apart from her peers is her action-orientated mindset. Instead of being part of a movement to create change, she has become the change she wanted to see — an important lesson we can all learn from her. Creating your best self and establishing how you want the world to see you is central to this collection of art! Daring to be different and not being afraid to express yourself are all feelings that Rihanna has inspired to guide Fenty in a direction she wholly believes in. Take notes boss ladies, we’re taking over the world and what better way to be suited and booted than in Fenty.

By Elisheba Akalawu