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BARING THE BABY BUMP

Rihanna is flipping the script on maternity wear

A model poses in lingeries designed by singer Rihanna.
Reuters/Jeenah Moon
Model Slick Woods in Rihanna’s lingerie.
By Courtney Vinopal
Published Last updated

When singer Rihanna first announced she was pregnant with partner A$AP Rocky in January, the internet was abuzz with the possibility of a maternity line from the business mogul.

After all, she’s previously featured pregnant models in fashion shows for her lingerie line, Savage by Fenty, and has spoken about designing clothes for people at “different stages in their womanhood.”

But in an interview with Vogue.com editor Chioma Nnadi published today (April 12), the singer gave no indication that a maternity line was in the works. For this pregnancy at least, she’s ditching maternity clothes altogether.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I thought to myself, There’s no way I’m going to go shopping in no maternity aisle. I’m sorry—it’s too much fun to get dressed up,” Rihanna told Vogue. “I’m not going to let that part disappear because my body is changing.”

Rihanna’s redefining pregnancy style

The global maternity wear market is valued at more than $12 billion and is expected to grow by 4.4% annually from 2021 to 2028. But despite being a lucrative business, maternity wear has always been a complicated sell, essayist Stephie Grob Plante wrote for Vox in 2018: Pregnancy clothes can be pricey, finding maternity clothes that are both comfortable and cute is hard, and for some women, fear of a miscarriage is always in the back of their mind.

In recent months Rihanna has shied away from traditional maternity items, instead wearing clothes that show off her pregnant belly. She showed up to Dior’s March 1 fashion show in a sheer babydoll dress over lingerie, wore a black leather crop top to a Gucci show in Milan, and was recently photographed in Santa Monica in a leather mini skirt and crystal bra.

Though the singer is a billionaire, her pregnancy fashion seems to have struck a chord with everyday shoppers. Several pregnant women told Refinery29 they were inspired by Rihanna to retain their personal style and buy a size up, rather than buying clothes specifically marketed as maternity wear.

Reuters/Clotaire Achi
Rihanna leaves the Dior show at Paris Fashion Week on March 1.

Renée Ann Cramer, a deputy provost at Drake University and author of Pregnant With the Stars, recently told the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman that Rihanna’s pregnancy style raises the question of whether the “performance of a powerful pregnancy by a wealthy woman at the top of her game” can change the way all pregnancies are perceived.

Broadening traditional conceptions of maternity wear looks to be what the singer is aiming for. “I’m hoping that we were able to redefine what’s considered ‘decent’ for pregnant women,” she told Vogue.

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