Rihanna and the “Fenty Effect”

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

When Rihanna launched her cosmetics line–Fenty Beauty–in 2017 with LVMH, it was a watershed moment for an industry known for sidelining darker hued women of color in their makeup offerings, specifically foundation. In sharp contrast to most makeup ad campaigns, the Fenty Beauty commercial below strived for inclusivity by showcasing women across a spectrum of shades to reflect the line's bold and progressive 40 shades of foundation, since growing to 50.

As a testament to her keen ability to market to a much more inclusive group of women, her instincts literally paid-off. Fenty Beauty earned sales over $100 million in its first few weeks on the market, $72 million in earned media value (a measure of marketing success) in the first month, generated $558 million in its first year, and was named one of Time magazine's best inventions of 2017. Rihanna's cosmetic line also drew international acclaim for diversity in its advertising campaign, which prominently featured numerous black models and other models of color.

In Rihanna's own words, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the line's debut made her realize that inclusivity was the core of what her brand stood for and would be a mainstay at every fashion show going forward. Since then, Fenty Beauty's foundation range has come to be known as the “Fenty Effect.” It's set a new standard in the beauty industry to recognize diversity and inclusion in terms of shade ranges as the new norm.

Following the successful launch of Fenty Beauty, Rihanna made history in spring 2019 when she launched her Fenty fashion label in partnership with LVMH, making her the first black woman to head a brand owned by the luxury conglomerate. The launch of her luxury fashion brand also marked the first time LVMH launched a fashion brand from scratch since the establishment of Christian Lacroix in 1987.

Later that year, Rihanna proved that a lingerie fashion show and concert can be empowering, entertaining and provocative with the launch of her Savage X Fenty lingerie line. If you have Amazon, you can stream it on Prime Video ­to experience the elaborate and colorful performances of artists and models representing an array of shades and sizes.

What's next for the music, fashion and cosmetics mogul? For now, she seems content and loving her passion for promoting better, accessible, and environmentally friendly beauty and skin products for women of all skin tones, her latest venture being Fenty Skin.

Watch: Rihanna's Fenty Beauty Artistry & Beauty Talk

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