Singer Rihanna’s fashion label Fenty won the Urban Luxe category at the Fashion Awards, which took place on Monday night at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The award was presented to her by Tyler, the Creator and by Janet Jackson, who told her: “You are loved for your style.”
Rihanna thanked the British Fashion Council and her collaborators. She was previously nominated for her Fenty x Puma collaboration in 2017.
Model Naomi Campbell also collected a prize – the Fashion Icon award. In her extensive acceptance speech, a tearful Campbell called the honour a “deeply humbling experience”.
She thanked fellow models Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss and Christy Turlington – her “sisters for life” – as well as Gianni Versace, the late fashion designer.
Campbell said she was the “first woman of colour to receive this award” before thanking women who she said had come before her, including Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, Iman, Bethann Hardison and Eartha Kitt.
As a campaigner for inclusivity in fashion and one of the founders of the Diversity Coalition, Campbell called for “diversity in the workplace and in everything we do.”
The Fashion Awards honoured the British designer Daniel Lee, the man responsible for revitalising Bottega Veneta since July 2018. He picked up four awards: British Designer of the Year Womenswear, Designer of the Year, Accessories Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year.
Adut Akech won Model of the Year and Giorgio Armani picked up the Outstanding Achievement Award, which was presented to him by Julia Roberts and Cate Blanchett, who said he revolutionised dressing on the red carpet.
The collective signatories of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Change (which included Stella McCartney, Burberry and Nike) won the Positive Change award, for individuals and fashion brands who are making concerted efforts to be more sustainable. Earlier this year, an agreement in Paris signed by many of the top fashion houses agreed to net zero emissions by 2050.
“We need leaders from prominent and influential industries like fashion to step up in a big way, and we hope this initiative will give a push in the right direction,” Robert Skinner, executive director of the UN Office for Partnerships, told the Guardian.
Rihanna’s victory caps off a game-changing year for the singer, which has seen her making huge strides for racial advancement within the industry.
With Fenty, Barbadian Rihanna became the first black woman to head a major fashion house, in conjunction with luxury goods company LVMH (Christian Dior, Celine, Marc Jacobs).
And, through its cosmetics subsidiary, Fenty Beauty (with its “foundation for all” philosophy) , she helped democratise make-up, introducing more shades of foundation than had been previously been available from a cosmetic company before. Fenty Beauty has been condemned by some for not being inclusive enough, but has made strides to become more so.
“Some [people] are finding their shade of foundation for the first time, getting emotional at the counter,” she explained to Time magazine. “That’s something I will never get over.” It has led to other brands like MAC, Covergirl and Maybelline dramatically increasing the number of foundations on offer.
In September, the singer launched the autumn/winter line of her Savage X Fenty lingerie range, premiering it with a high-profile, guest-heavy fashion show cum musical extravaganza that streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime.
Featuring a range of diverse models in all shapes and sizes (including transgender actor/model Laverne Cox and plus-size model Margie Plus) the body positive brand stood in stark contrast to Victoria’s Secret, whose singular vision of beauty was seen by many as outdated and not inclusive.
In an interview after the Savage X Fenty show, Rihanna said: “I don’t care about any skinny Victoria’s Secret model … there are a lot of women out there who are feeling in the dark, invisible, [saying]: ‘I can’t try that on because I’m not made like that.’ This is where you feel safe, right here at Savage.”