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26th October 2021

Savage x Fenty: Empowering fashion show or just a spectacle?

While Savage x Fenty has been often praised for its inclusivity, the reality is that even Rihanna still has a lot to work on
Savage x Fenty: Empowering fashion show or just a spectacle?
Photo Credit: Charisse Kenion @ Unplash

Written by Hannah Mcquinn

If you don’t know, get to know! ‘Savage X Fenty’ is the way to go.

Move over all other lingerie brands and say hello to Rihanna’s fearless company: ‘Savage X Fenty’. The inclusive, contemporary, and stylish underwear brand released its third volume in late September alongside the pioneering fashion show. It offered an array of women’s stylish mesh and lace underwear sets, alongside the luxurious men’s loungewear apparel. The Mancunion’s Fashion and Beauty team takes a look at the show and statement it makes.

Diversity in the fashion industry, particularly within catwalk shows, has often come under criticism. Rihanna, however, uses the stage as a celebration of women’s bodies in her recent fashion spectacular. This so called ‘fashion concert’ encompasses plus size models, people of colour and an array of genders, sexualities, hair types and skin conditions. Models with amputations and who are pregnant also take center stage, resisting the 21st century norm of slim, tall standards.

The exciting, broad collection of models participating in the fashion show combat the giants of the lingerie world, such as Victoria Secret, or even smaller British companies like Boux Avenue. Rihanna’s demand for equality and diversity within representation of women’s bodies thus speaks directly to the exclusive and narrow-minded modeling industries. Equally, showing women’s bodies openly and confidently offers hope for the future, as this stark new fashion show is taking the reigns and setting the examples for other fashion giants!

Despite Rihanna’s achievement with her lingerie collection and subsequent pivotal fashion show, some critiques note her lack of education and perhaps naivety in the fashion industry, as only a newcomer to the fashion and beauty stage. In 2020, the fashion idol was called out by people of Muslim faith, for the use of the song ‘Doom’ by artist Coucou Chloe, which contained passages from sacred Islamic texts.

Her choice sparked controversy across the internet, leaving Rihanna only to apologise and admit her ‘careless mistake’. Shortly after her foolish blunder in 2020, Rihanna’s most recent ‘Savage X Fenty’ show was placed under spotlight too, this time however by the appearance of her models. The famous Emily Ratajkowski wore her hair in braids, triggering the conversation of cultural appropriation within audiences. Frustrating many fans with the insensitivity of the hair style, Rihanna turned a blind eye on the integral hairstyle within Black culture. Audiences have now questioned the reliability and incentive of Rihanna’s fashion shows. Are we able to forgive her for these mistakes?

The media attention Rihanna’s innovative fashion shows have gained over recent years has helped boost Savage X Fenty’s economical mark in the lingerie industry. With an all-inclusive range in 2021 (spanning from 32A-46DDD), the unique and fresh designs, paired with the selection of sizes, appeals to a vast target audience of young adults and women. Thus, Rihanna’s bold marketing strategies and her stark photographs of models easily catches the eye of the buyer.

Ultimately, Rihanna showing confident, empowered women at her shows has stunned the world. She has successfully sparked the wider acceptance of portraying different types of women’s bodies in mainstream media, whilst also creating some amazing underwear pieces!

If you’d like to check out Rihanna’s line for yourself, click here.


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