Despite ample celebrity and financial backing, Rihanna's Fenty is yet to take off
Back in January 2019 when rumours circulated of a partnership between luxury conglomerate LVMH and Rihanna’s Fenty brand it was enough for the New York Times to quip “is Rihanna the new Coco Chanel?”
“The combination of Fenty and LVMH will be the clearest expression yet of how celebrity, social media and influencers have redefined the power balance between culture and consumption, changing the way brands of all kinds relate to their audience,” the article read.
Nearly two years later and Rihanna’s brand seems to be underwhelming in its fashion offer and underperforming as a business. While LVMH has to date not shared figures for the brand, WWD reports the the group’s Chief Financial Officer, Jean-Jacques Guiony told analysts Fenty is still fine-tuning its operations.
“On Fenty fashion, we are obviously still in a launching phase and we have to figure out exactly what is the right offer. It’s not something that is easy. We were starting entirely from scratch…Obviously, we have the great help from Rihanna on this, but I would say it’s still a work in progress when it comes to really defining what the offer will be,” Guiony stated.
Fenty currently operates a see-now-buy-now model focused on direct to consumer sales. On Fenty.com there have been no new product releases since high summer in July, when it dropped footwear, including strappy summer sandals and boots. Some garments that debuted as far back as Winter 2019 are still available for purchase, albeit at full price. Availability of stock dating back three seasons, even if categorised as non-seasonal drops, means demand is likely to be mediocre.
Fenty has yet to define its fashion niche, such as a hero product that will be associated with the brand. While in the beauty space Fenty has captured eyes and wallets, in fashion there is much room for the brand to grow.
Describing Fenty’s product offer Guiony said: “We have successes, we have things that have worked less well, so we have to sort in between the two and really decide what should be the core strengths of the offer in the years to come.”
In September Fenty appointed Nike veteran Bastien Renard as the brand’s new Managing Director. Renard, who also held a stint as vice president of Converse, will report to LVMH chief strategy officer Jean Baptiste Voisin.
Images via Fenty website and Fenty Facebook