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rihanna's puma collab has brought the brand back to life

The right face at the right time can rake in billions

by Isabelle Hellyer
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02 May 2016, 3:47am

Puma has always been a sportswear stalwart, and while the brand certainly never showed sings of going anywhere, it didn't ascend to the same sartorial heights as Nike and Adidas during the aethlesiure invasion at the start of the decade. Sportswear's current golden age, initially, didn't lend the brand any extra fashion capital. Until they wised up and signed Rihanna on.

Puma appointed Rih creative director of their women's vertical in 2014, and her presence has seen their sales grow every year since. This quarter, their sales have risen by 7.3 percent to 853 Million Euros—that's over 1 Billion Australian dollars. A great deal of the push has come from Rih's footwear: her sneakers, creepers and fur slides sell out in a matter of days. Sneakerheads are no longer a fashion minority, and Puma know it: they've capitalised on our appetite for It-sneakers well.

The power of the right ambassador can't be underestimated. Rihanna's appointment was one of the brand's deftest moves to date—she's got genuine fashion acumen, and would certainly be a street-style icon if she weren't already a megastar. Similarly, Kendall Jenner's appointment as the face of Estée Lauder is a another testament to the right face's power to redefine a brand. Once considered for "mature" skin, Kendall's social media savvy campaigns tapped into a younger market. Kendall helped Estée go young, Rih helped Puma go luxe—and earn big. 

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Image via Puma