Rihanna’s Co-Designer Speaks on “RIHtrospective”



To commemorate the design debut from Rihanna, Opening Ceremony presented an exhibition of seven outfits (deemed some of Rihanna’s most memorable outfits), to display in conjunction with her collection for River Island. The RIHtrospective exhibition will remain in the shop for three weeks and the exclusive collection will be available only at River Island stores, and at Opening Ceremony in New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, and online through both retailers. The pop icon worked on her range alongside Adam Selman, and here, the designer (and fashion collaborator) talked to us about the process behind working with one of the world’s most recognized faces.

Life+Times: You co-designed this collection alongside Rihanna. What was this creative process like?
Adam Selman
: I did. Rihanna is obviously very busy. So we would design every chance we got. We set aside time to work together on creating her vision, but we texted, emailed constantly to make sure we were on the same page. A lot also happened backstage, around fitting times, anytime we got to see each other we would show each other sketches, fabric ideas and concepts. Rihanna is super particular about fabrics and fit, so it was really my job to make sure that her vision was executed, she was very present and vocal when it came to fittings, fabrics and details on the garments.

L+T: What did you want to achieve with this collection? What was the main purpose when you decided to work together and release these designs?
: Rihanna wanted to make clothes that she felt were missing from her closet. The main goal was to make easy, sexy, unfussy clothing that is special but still somehow have relatable elements. We really wanted to make sure Rihanna endorsed and would wear every piece of clothing from the collection, and also what she wanted to see girls/women wear on the streets.

L+T: What can we expect from her debut designing range?
: More collections in the future…

L+T: You debuted during London Fashion Week. What was that experience like? What was the general response to the collection?
: The collection was never really meant to be shown at London Fashion Week, but it was a huge honor. The show was definitely one of the most stressful moments I’ve had. But the end result was really satisfying. I am not entirely sure that it’s all sunk in yet.

L+T: You’ve said the collection is heavily based upon her mood and inspirations – which have been ever-changing. What was this experience like working together?
: Rihanna and I work together extremely well. With the help of Mel Ottenberg, her stylist, we make a great team. Mel is a true visionary when it comes to fashion, and Rihanna is a chameleon who can wear clothes like no other, and when I make clothes, the two of them really bring them to life. I have huge respect for both of them, and working with them on the collection really made it special.