Revolutionizing pregnancy style: How Rihanna is changing the narrative

Rihanna is changing pregnancy style

Always a trendsetter, Rihanna is rewriting the rules of maternity wear.
Published: May 8, 2022 | Updated: May 9th, 2022 at 11:03 pm
Illustration: Rihanna is not just embracing maternity fashion but redefining it.

From pop star to fashion and beauty mogul, it’s no secret that mom-to-be Rihanna is one of the most stylish celebrities to grace the stage. Since photos announcing her pregnancy were released in January, Rihanna has made headlines with her head-turning outfits. Not only has she embraced her pregnancy, but she has rewritten the rules of maternity fashion.

For years, Rihanna has been changing the narrative in both the beauty and fashion industries, and her pregnancy is no different. As early as 2017, Rihanna broke barriers with the introduction of her beauty line, Fenty Beauty. One of her first products, the Pro Filtr Foundation, came in over 40 shades, filling a void in an industry where women of color were neglected. The launch of Fenty Beauty highlighted the importance of inclusivity and diversity in marketing, causing a shift in the beauty landscape. Her lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, emphasizes confidence, designing apparel for all genders and body types.

 

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In an interview with Vogue, Rihanna explains that being herself was her goal from the beginning. She said, “When I found out that I was pregnant, I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way I’m going to go shopping in no maternity aisle.’ I’m sorry — it’s too much fun to get dressed up. I’m not going to let that part disappear because my body is changing.”

Following the launch of Fenty Beauty, a concept emerged: the idea of the so-called “Fenty Effect.” Sandy Saputo, chief marketing officer of Kendo Brands, which includes Fenty Beauty, explained how the phenomenon took the fashion and beauty industry by storm. “It was a call to action for all industries to do more and challenge the status quo. In beauty, it caused a chain reaction of brands that responded positively by expanding their makeup lines to be more inclusive.”

The Fenty Effect, in recent years, has not only redefined an industry but has broken barriers in the fight for diversity and inclusion in fashion. Fashion is more than just style, and Rihanna has made it her mission to humanize an industry that excludes diverse bodies, making fashion accessible to all. Her entire brand is built on the idea of inclusivity, so why would her style choices during her pregnancy be any different? And her style is only the beginning.

For Rihanna, pregnancy is a life-changing event that should feel celebratory, not something that should be hidden away. For years, women have been forced to conceal their pregnancies, from behind closed doors in confinement to concealing their changing bodies under baggy clothes. Until recently, stretchy pants, billowy dresses and slip-on shoes were the epitome of “maternity style,” prioritizing comfort over style while also “concealing” their growing bellies.

 

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By dressing to showcase her changing body, Rihanna is making a statement that she is not just a mom but that she is still her own person. She rejects the preconceived notions that accompany traditional maternity wear. Her pregnancy is an addition to her style, not a limitation. Her subtle rejection of the traditional maternity style speaks volumes about society’s expectations of pregnant women. It’s a radical shift in how we view pregnancy in that women are not just incubators but are real people. Utilizing her status as a public figure, she forces society to reexamine previous misconceptions and accepted behaviors about female autonomy at a time when women’s reproductive rights are under threat.

In embracing the Fenty Effect, we see Rihanna pushing boundaries yet again. Rihanna’s brand is built on inclusivity, and her pregnancy is yet another avenue of inclusion that she is exploring. Her representation of pregnancy style in the media is already leading to a shift in fashion. In an industry that is centered around making yourself look thinner, being pregnant is the antithesis of that toxic mentality. By not hiding her body, she is inspiring women of all backgrounds.

In a 2019 interview with Elle, Rihanna explained how diversity is crucial in the development of a space for all women to fit in. “It’s important, right?” she said. “You belong in these pieces. You, me, trans women, women of all sizes, paraplegic women, all women are important women!”

Why should she have to sacrifice her style simply because her body is changing?

“I’m hoping that we were able to redefine what’s considered ‘decent’ for pregnant women,” she told Vogue in their May 2022 issue. “My body is doing incredible things right now, and I’m not going to be ashamed of that. This time should feel celebratory. Because why should you be hiding your pregnancy?”

With her due date rapidly approaching, the question on everyone’s mind is if a woman of Rihanna’s caliber and status changes how pregnancy is perceived, especially post-Roe v. Wade. If that is the case, then Rihanna will have achieved more than just influencing how pregnant women dress, but how we think about women’s rights. Period.

Avatar for Ashley Reeves

is a Magazine, News and Digital Journalism graduate student and a News Lead Producer for The NewsHouse

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Avatar for Ashley Reeves

is a graphic designer and illustrator for The NewsHouse.