Rihanna makes everything Gucci at Coachella
But the brand should be careful it doesn’t exploit Black culture and, instead, opens doors for it.
The weekend we kicked off Coachella right at the #REVOLTHouse, where Rihanna lit up the room joining Diddy, accompanied by French Montana, Tyga, and DJ Esco and the Migos performed. During festival season, you’re likely to come across a lot of the same outfits which may make it harder for you to find your friends after a couple of drinks unless, of course, your friend is named Rihanna.
The “Fashion Killa’s” unconventional approach to style has propelled her brand and, over the years, has solidified her as an icon. This past weekend at Coachella, she shined bright while dipped almost entirely in Gucci: a torn shirt, shades, distressed shorts, and a dazzling jumpsuit that is as transparent as her dress from the CFDAs in 2014. Naturally, she also rocked her very own Fenty x PUMA kicks.
Now, we’re all well aware that Rihanna’s influence impacts her Navy like no other, resulting in record-breaking sales each time she drops a new product. However, in this moment, she is not the trendsetter.
Gucci has recently taken a new creative approach to adapting streetwear culture into their collection. The move brought a significant boost in sales this year for the company. Since collaborating with Brooklyn artist and musician Trouble Andrew a.k.a GucciGhost, we’ve seen a plethora of our favorite entertainers in this collection. The timeless Gucci vintage shirt remains reverent because of the nostalgia and aspirational value attached.
Notably, the high-end ready-to-wear industry makes most of their sales off small goods sold to an aspirational shopper who, more times than not, listens to hip-hop. Over the years, the high-end fashion houses have slowly incorporated products like t-shirts, sneakers, belts, and full collections inspired by the street. Understanding the buying power of the young, working, black trendsetter and their desires to live large, brands like Gucci have taken their marketing a step further to be more inclusive.
The fashion industry is opening up to streetwear culture in ways that mark this present moment as a turning point in fashion history. However, there is a fine line between including and exploiting the culture as these brands have a long history of disinterest in the black and brown communities. Still, they no less benefit from our consumption of their products. It can be debated that because retailers are no longer making the same sales in store, companies are beginning to heavily rebrand using social media to appeal to their target demographic who is paying attention to the street for their style inspiration.
Gucci’s most recent all-Black campaign shows they have noticed the shift and decided to place the spotlight on a long-time customer they once overlooked. Endorsements by entertainers like Rihanna make it possible for Gucci to maintain its namesake in this marketplace. It is of the utmost importance that brands like Gucci don’t just capitalize off of the culture, but also open doors for the young street trendsetters that inspire them.