By Venesa Coger, Refinery 29
When news broke that Rihanna had plans to open physical Savage X Fenty stores, many wondered what the shopping experience would be like. Its e-commerce site went live in 2018 and was soon followed by runway shows that exclusively aired on Amazon. The brand has dominated the online lingerie arena for the past four years with badass marketing campaigns (I mean it is Rihanna) that focused on size inclusion. Now, it has its sights set on delivering its consumers an even better experience in real life. As a former employee of major lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, I was personally interested in how Savage X would stand out. That’s why I took a trip to the Los Angeles (Westfield Culver City) opening last Saturday, February 12, so you wouldn’t have to. As I arrived at the store, there was a line of excited customers ready to shop that stretched to the middle of the mall. The bold and vibrant colors of each room (Ripple, Logo, Swirl, Video, and Evergreen), which offers interactive features for shoppers to experience, immediately caught my eye. Before heading into the fitting room, the mannequin wall display stunned me in the best way. It’s not every day you get to see an inclusive range of mannequins representing all sizes and genders. It was clear that everyone was included and could enjoy the experience of shopping not only for their significant other but themselves.
Rihanna also raised the bar on how people can find their bra size. As someone who has worked as a bra specialist, nothing could prepare me for how seamless and sufficient the process of finding the right size for me would be. To optimize this experience, Savage X Fenty partnered with FIT: MATCH, a technology platform to create the “Fit Xperience,” which allows Savage X associates to use LiDAR-powered smartphones to scan a customer’s upper body. It creates a personalized 3D replica of the customer that offers their exact bra size and shape and recommendations for a wide range of Savage X Fenty products. Inside the fitting room, customers are also able to find a kiosk that will allow them to scan items in case they want to browse other styles and check item prices.
Prior to surprising her Savage X Fenty fans at the opening, Rihanna spoke to me about her store openings, how she’s remaining savage as she prepares to be a mom, and where she sees herself in the future. Read on to see what she had to say about Savage X Fenty and how the brand will continue to set itself apart.
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Rihanna: “The whole idea of the retail space is that I wanted women and men to come in and feel represented, to walk away from the experience feeling confident and that they belong. I’ve experienced being a customer and shopping in the lingerie space and have felt as if I didn’t fit the mold of the product. But Savage X Fenty is very inclusive, and I want to continue to expand on that so that our consumers can feel our commitment within the retail space.”
Why was now the perfect time to open up a retail store?
“I’ve always wanted to open a store, but we were doing so well as an e-commerce store. I also felt there would always be a need for an in-person, one-on-one experience for our consumers. Having the “Fit Xperience” is one of those things that makes it really important because people don’t even know their size and we are shopping online. You’re guessing and buying sizes you think would work best. My boobs are growing by the week and I don’t really know my size right now, but having this experience will change the game.”
Why was it important for you to make sure your mannequins are size-inclusive?
“You know, we actually cast all of the mannequins off of real people. I wanted to make sure we included as many different body types as possible because you don’t get to see curvy women and curvy men in this aspect. It was important because everyone wants to feel seen and sexy.”
The butt crack pajamas were the talk of your last collection and the Vol. 3 Savage X Fenty show. What details can share about the vibe and energy Vol. 4 will bring?
“It is definitely too early to tell right now, but we’re definitely pushing the envelope even more and we’re expanding as well. So even saying that is probably too much to say, but you’ll see Savage X doesn’t hold any punches and it’s all gas no breaks.”
How do you remain savage and comfortable?
“Right now I’m really into pushing the idea of sexy. When women get pregnant, society tends to make it feel like you hide, hide your sexy, and that you’re not sexy right now [but] you’ll get back there and I don’t believe in that sh*t. So I’m trying stuff that I might not have even had the confidence to try before I was pregnant. The strappiest, the thinnest, and the more cut-outs the better for me.”
In 2008, you mentioned in an interview that you saw yourself having a fashion and makeup line and starting a family 10 years from then. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
“Oh, I gotta be careful with that and what I ask for. Look at me now. I honestly want to be a great mom, I want to be at peace and have true inner bliss. You dream big when you’re really young, and as you grow and life happens to you it really comes down to the simple things. That’s what I want to hold on to. I want to be able to share that and continue it even through charity and Black women’s joy.”
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