When Rihanna debuted her first studio album in 2005, it was impossible to anticipate what a cultural icon she would someday become. Like all legendary pop stars, Rihanna has transcended the role of singer and has since bloomed into a fashion icon, designer and influencer par excellence. Along with the continued success of her critically celebrated collaborations with Puma, Riri has since expanded her Fenty brand into lingerie and makeup, with each branch of her growing empire garnering a massive following. In celebration of Rihanna’s successes, ONE37pm has named Rihanna the most entrepreneurial musician of 2018.
Rihanna’s transformation from a beloved artist (with the third-highest number of No. 1 singles in Billboard Hot 100 history behind only The Beatles and Mariah Carey) into a truly enterprising empress (with an estimated net worth of roughly $260 million as of September 2018) can be traced back to her first projects with Puma in 2014, when she was named as the brand’s creative director.
Rihanna had successfully dabbled in fragrances before the Puma role, but it was her first product with the sportswear brand, a sensible yet edgy sneaker, that sold out almost immediately. In 2016, Rihanna launched her first official collection with the company: the groundbreaking line, which smartly combined goth aesthetics and streetwear sensibilities, was celebrated across the industry. Rihanna’s direction led the company toward close to $1 billion in profits. “Sometimes when a famous person tries his or her hand at another discipline, the results can be uneven,” wrote Vogue critic Chioma Nnadi. “And yet there are those special cases when making the switch leads to a good surprise. Judging by the collection she showed today, we can add Rihanna to that list."
Rihanna’s efforts with Puma would continue over the next few years with the themes of each collection drawing on unique influences ranging from Marie Antoinette to collegiate, Ivy league couture. Her Spring 2018 collection, which offered a fresh spin on ’90s motocross aesthetics, continued to amass positive reviews and has since sparked a biker chic resurgence and influenced a hyper-fashionable series of underground parties in Brooklyn’s queer nightlife scene.