FENTY: The Burgeoning of Direct-To-Consumer Luxury

photo courtesy of GQ

photo courtesy of GQ

With the global release of FENTY’s first collection in our rear view, we’re all curious how the hype is still going strong. Aside from FENTY being the only brand Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH) has built from stretch since 1987, it’s the only brand with a Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) business model of its kind within the LVMH brand portfolio. The partnership between the luxury conglomerate LVMH and Robin ‘Rihanna’ Fenty signifies the eminent departure from traditional luxury business models, placing a greater emphasis on consumer centricity.

So what is a DTC brand?

In simple words, a DTC brand promotes their goods and services to consumers on their own, cutting out all and any middlemen in the process. Easier said than done. A successful DTC brand overcomes barriers that prevent consumers from connecting with the brand’s core identity. For example, brands that respond to consumers rapidly, whether it be via social media or with a new release, have an advantage over those who don’t aren’t as responsive. Taking action builds a deeper connection with your customers and helps solidify your place in their mind. That strong relationship helps brands understand what consumers need, what they want and how to give it to them.

DTC brands become more prevalent when brands saw the value of social media platforms, places where consumers spend significant amounts of time sharing personal information. Companies use social media to acquire information about consumer habits to design products and develop strategies that appeal to our emotions or logic. The utilization of consumer insights was integral in turning useless engagement that fell flat with meaningful engagement. The growth of brands on social media doesn’t signify the end of retail—it just means consumers are evolving and the approach to retail should be a well informed decision.

Rihanna disrupts the luxury fashion market with her see now, buy now business model by releasing new product every month. Rihanna understands that when brands open their ears and listen to their consumers, they can take action and respond in a tangible way. That means no more waiting months after a collection is shown to purchase the pieces. She knows what her fans love and that’s her personal style and ‘dgaf’ attitude, which comes to life through her collections.

Rihanna launched FENTY with a pop-up shop in Paris. The ephemeral shopping experience immersed fans in her world, giving her cult following the physical link and emotional connection they desire.

How did the Barbadian singer turn into an icon that shapes fashion?

Here’s a historical account of Rihanna’s rise, brought to you by one of my favorite online publications, HIGHSNOBIETY.