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Rihanna at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
Rihanna is launching a lingerie line, Savage x Fenty.
Photo: Michael Stewart/FilmMagic

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Rihanna Understands What Inclusivity Actually Means

Her new lingerie line will hopefully do for bras what Fenty Beauty did for makeup.

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Rihanna is on a mission. She wants to see you beautiful but broke. In September, she got her fans to empty their wallets for her Fenty Beauty makeup collection. And last week, she announced the launch of lingerie line Savage x Fenty. It officially drops May 11, but Tuesday Rihanna posted a shot of herself on Instagram in a lacy bodysuit from the line. You can already sign up to the Savage email list, so if you planned on saving any money in the coming weeks, just give up and fork it all over to RiRi.

Savage is not only one of the season’s most anticipated launches, it’s also a much more inclusive line than most. Sizes go up to 44DD — a wider range than Journelle, Victoria’s Secret, or Everlane’s new underwear line offers. And Twitter users noted this, with one remarking that her line could make Victoria’s Secret “irrelevant.” Another fan gushed, “So glad #SAVAGEXFENTY will have bras in my size.”

It’s no accident that Rihanna’s lingerie is more inclusive than most, just as her makeup line serves women with a variety of skin tones. Fenty Beauty offers foundation in hues that the very pale, the very dark, and everyone in between can wear. Similarly, Savage not only serves women with larger chests and cup sizes but those with average and petite measurements as well.

Rihanna’s clout as a pop star, and now a fashion and beauty mogul, likely gives her the power to develop brands for an array of customers. Because her name alone almost guarantees that these collections will be hits, it’s difficult for naysayers to argue that reaching out to women across the spectrum, be it in shape or shade, is too risky. Rihanna’s wildly successful makeup brand disproved the notion that women of color don’t buy makeup.

And the range of sizes in her lingerie collection will surely poke holes in similar arguments retailers have made about women larger than a size 12. After all, the average American woman wears a size 16 to 18, which means lingerie brands that don’t stock above a chest size of 36 or 38, or a cup size above a D, are ignoring masses of women.

While Savage is inclusive, it still leaves out some customers. One woman eager for news about the lingerie line’s launch expressed disappointment on Twitter upon discovering that it will not offer DDD cup sizes. Parfait is the rare lingerie brand that does. Its bras go up to size 44G, with select styles in size K.

Who knows? Rihanna may very well expand the sizes in her lingerie range in the future. African-American women in particular made Fenty Beauty a megahit, and a disproportionate number of black women fall into the plus-size category. Rihanna’s marketing has been intersectional from the outset, and becoming even more so will only increase her appeal.

She’s reaching marginalized women (and others, too) by recognizing that retailers ignore them because of their skin tone and their shape. When Savage drops and shakes up the intimate apparel industry, which it will, expect to see the same retailers that overlooked Rihanna’s clientele suddenly acknowledge that plus-size women enjoy beautiful lingerie too.

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