STYLE | FENTY X PUMA Changing The Game In Women's Sneakers
Known for its decades of sports innovation, Puma strives to keep it fresh and ready for change. In 2014, Puma was in the process of a major rebranding. Their all-star face, Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive, was going to retire after the Olympics (which he did). Brainstorming commenced and they ventured into the circle of entertainment and fashion, landing on a woman that checked all the boxes of their brand’s values: Rihanna. Who can forget her Swarovski sheer dress? Which by the way, she wore en route to her ‘Style Icon’ award from the CFDA. The Grammy award-winning artist constantly serves looks, which Tom Ford describes her style as “daring, fearless and constantly evolving”. And she’s brought that to Fenty.
Rihanna’s interest in Puma was for the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the brand’s success. In the case of her recent beauty line, she diversified the market. Puma brought her on board as creative director in 2014. In her earlier meetings, she came equipped with handouts and presentations to express her ideas and then being heavily involved from the choice of fabric down to the design elements. What stood out to her was the lettering of ‘PUMA’. Prior to this, Puma had a greater emphasis on the logo of their feline. Now, looking at Puma kicks, you see the those four letters stand out.
The launch of the Creeper — a rendition of Puma’s Basket silhouette with a thicker midsole — was the real game-changer. Here was a silhouette designed for a woman. Literally. It was originally a custom that a friend made for Rihanna. She wore it to a meeting with Puma in Germany and they fell in love with the shoe, making it their first shoe. It sold out in 3 hours when it first came out. At a distance, the shoe is distinct and is incredibly wearable. These star qualities made it 2016’s Shoe of the Year. Making Rihanna the first woman to win the award.
Fenty is close to our hearts because we have new silhouettes to choose from and they’re universally appealing and all-inclusive. Rihanna’s Fenty for Puma isn’t just tapping into the once-neglected female sneaker culture but in a way, it’s shaping it.