Last Friday, Rihanna hosted the second annual Savage x Fenty fashion show in Los Angeles, California, to debut her new fall collection of seductive, size-inclusive lingerie. At the event, she also introduced the brand’s first ever menswear capsule collection.
Over the years, the 32-year-old Barbadian singer has been revered for her inclusivity and diversity campaigns across the companies she leads. Her makeup brand, Fenty Beauty, which was lauded for its comprehensive 40-shade foundation line upon its 2017 release, this summer launched a gender-neutral skincare line marketed towards men, women and non-binary people. Meanwhile her lingerie brand is essentially the antithesis of Victoria Secret, offering sexy staples in an wide range of sizes worn by diverse models on the runway and on the Savage x Fenty website.
At the end of September, the Fenty fashion house announced the lingerie brand would be launching its first menswear capsule collection in collaboration with Christian Combs, the 22-year-old model, musician and son of rapper Diddy. The announcement included promotional photos of Combs lounging in Savage x Fenty fat-banded boxers and a silk pajama set with a full set of abs on display. But when the line launched on October 2nd, fans noticed the brand’s ethos of diversity and inclusivity had extended to its new menswear line.
Twitter user @amberellaaaa_ tweeted “OKAY RIHANNA” and a side-eye emoji with photos of a plus-size male model sporting a size XXL pair of Savage x Fenty boxers. The tweet has now accumulated over 300K likes, 40K retweets and over a thousand comments — the overwhelming majority of which showed appreciation for larger male bodies.
Unsurprisingly, many of the replies did consist of users wishing the model would slam them on tables and through walls, but others spoke earnestly to the lack of diverse representation in menswear.
“Never in my adult life have I seen a male model that has a similar body to mine. I feel … almost emotional? Like I finally can buy something I saw and want and KNOW it was made for people like me in mind,” tweeted user @codyjacobmusic.
The immense amount of praise for larger bodies within the tweet’s replies also brought on emotions, as another user wrote, “I’m built like that and I was not ready to see a bunch of people finding someone built like me really attractive. So I’m having some feelings about this at the moment.”
Another user succinctly proclaimed it to be “BIG BOY SEASON.”
Even the model himself, Steven G., expressed gratitude over being featured in the campaign on Instagram, noting his initial apprehension about going shirtless on the internet for the first time.
“I was EXTREMELY hesitant the moment my agency confirmed but something in me knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by,” he wrote. “I thought this was for me but this is for every guy built with some extra meat, that unbuttons that bottom button when tryna avoid the crease, that has to shop around like crazy cause the sizes for us are already gone but we sauce up a fit and still flex the drip. We here, we are sexy, and we are the wave. And don’t let nobody tell you that you aren’t!”
Of course, it’s not all roses and internet applause for Rihanna’s brand this week, as the singer is being criticized for using a sacred Islamic Hadith during her recent Fenty fashion show.
Still, the outpour of support and emotion over an image of a plus-size male model in a pair of boxers illustrates the degree to which the push for greater size inclusivity has not been as successful in the world of menswear as it has been in women’s apparel — which is saying quite a bit considering how far we still have to go in that regard.
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