What’s Next For Fenty x PUMA
Rihanna’s Fenty x PUMA partnership is continuing in 2023. After the Big Cat took to social media to announce RiRi’s return to the label, many have been left in anticipation of what will arise from the reboot and of course, what the product could look like. As we move closer to this new phase of Fenty x PUMA, we’re posing the question: what’s next?
How It Started
As one of the most influential pop artists of the modern era, Rihanna’s influence has proven its supreme reign from not only her music, but to fashion and of course beauty. First officially teaming up with PUMA at the tailend of 2014, RiRi closed out the year with a major announcement seeing the artist add the titles of creative director and global ambassador to her roster. Specifically, Rihanna became the face of PUMA’s Women’s Training category, as well as becoming its Creative Director, where she directly influenced product collections in partnership with PUMA’s Internal Product Creation team.
Not long after, RiRi would go on to release her very own sneakers with PUMA, shaking up 2016’s sneaker game and creating some of the most memorable looks of the mid 2010s at the same time. She’d receive her first signature sneaker under Fenty x PUMA known as the Fenty x PUMA Trainer. Perhaps more memorable though is what came next – a recreation of the PUMA Suede as we knew it. Giving it a stacked midsole, they'd create what was known as the PUMA Creeper. Upon releasing the modernised silhouette, Rihanna said, ‘Partnering with PUMA has given me the opportunity to create pieces that are unique and unexpected. I really wanted to dig into their archive and give classic silhouettes my own spin. The PUMA Creeper is just that.' In 2016, it even became an award-winning shoe.
Continuing to step things up (literally), in 2017 the duo would remix the remix, dropping an even more stacked Fenty x PUMA Creeper which came complete with a cleated extra midsole!
How It Went
After the Fenty x PUMA Creepers, there was more where that came from, with the label releasing everything from gumboots to slides. However in 2018, the Fenty x PUMA partnership came to a close, ending one of the biggest celebrity streetwear link-ups of the 2010s. As they say, when one door closes, another opens, and Rihanna continued to reach new heights by forging even more Fenty imprints in other areas such as beauty and fashion – the latter being an LVMH-backed brand which ceases to exist today. However, Fenty Beauty and Savage x Fenty continue to achieve success. As reported by Forbes in August 2021 by Ri’s lingerie line, Savage x Fenty was worth $270 million, with Fenty Beauty estimated to be valued at $2.8 billion – and that was back then.
With so much on the mantle already, many are wondering, and to quote the RiRi track, ‘What Now’? The Fenty x PUMA revival is an exciting move for the industry, considering it is rather unusual for brands to reignite major partnerships once put to bed.
Sure, many recoiled at the idea of a stacked PUMA Suede, but Fenty x PUMA was nothing if not experimental, which was one of its biggest drawcards. Fenty x PUMA made the Suede a part of the chunky sneaker trend, appropriating it froman archival, slimline classic. And this alone is one of the reasons it became one of the defining shoes of women’s sneakers in that era. Rihanna is as influential as ever in 2023, recently shooting Salomon clout into the stratosphere following her Super Bowl halftime performance where she wore the MM6 Maison Margiela x Salomon Cross.
It must also be noted that the original Fenty x PUMA partnership took place during the Bjørn Gulden era of PUMA, who was responsible for leading the company to its strongest results in history in 2022, as per Vogue Business. At the start of 2023, he jumped ship to adidas. With Arne Freundt now at PUMA’s helm, it will be interesting to see what can be achieved. So looking ahead, we can only assume that Rihanna is more than likely prepared to usher in a new era for this decade, which will go on to inform trends that are yet to be written yet.