Fenty’s Phresh On The Runway

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With the launch of Fenty Beauty, Shane Cullen analyses the diversity within the make-up industry. 

After months of anticipation, hype, and limited social media previews, Rihanna has finally launched her own make-up line, Fenty Beauty. Having first teased a piece from the collection at her Fenty x Puma Spring Summer 2016 launch, excitement soon built as to what would the rest of the line would contain. This is not the first time Rihanna has delved into the worlds away from music or acting. She has previously collaborated with make-up giant Mac back in 2014. The pairing of creative forces resulted in designing a red lipstick that got her seal of approval, modestly named “RiRi Woo Woo”, a take on the existing shade “Ruby Woo Woo”. Going it alone into a highly competitive industry was a bold move, but this is Rihanna we are talking about, what she turns her hand to is never a half-hearted effort.

With high praise coming from women of colour for the darker shades available in Fenty Beauty, brands such as L’Oréal and Estée Lauder have decided to extend their shade ranges.

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Fenty Beauty was conceived with an intended vision and purpose. It was never going to be a novelty range to decorate a department store. Talking to the media about what she wished to do when creating the product, Rihanna said that this make-up collection would be designed for women “everywhere”. This wasn’t a cleverly-phrased PR statement, the make-up shades do in fact cater to a wide range of skin types, tones and undertones, something which many make-up companies before failed to accommodate. In reaction to the collection of foundation alone, Rihanna’s competitors have suddenly upped their game in a bid to combat the success that Fenty Beauty has had so far.

With high praise coming from women of colour for the darker shades available in Fenty Beauty, brands such as L’Oréal and Estée Lauder have decided to extend their shade ranges.

L’Oréal are calling it “celebrating diversity”. Marc Jacobs have also opted to add more shades to their foundation line-up, which was a leap for inclusivity made on Marc Jacobs’ part, following last year’s controversy of Jacobs being accused of culturally appropriating black culture and later saying that he “didn’t see” colour. The social media reaction to the established brands making the sudden effort was mixed, with many users sharing the same thought; why did it take them so long?

Fenty Beauty has done something which most of the brands before her failed to do; include women and men of all colours from the beginning. Creating darker shades should not have to be a “celebration”, it should be an essential.

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