Fabletics owner TechStyle Fashion Group and Rihanna have teamed up on a lingerie line, Women's Wear Daily reports. A TechStyle spokesperson declined to confirm, saying, " As a policy, the company does not comment on rumors or speculation."
There's no launch date, but the collaboration has been in the works for about a year, and TechStyle has already made product samples, according to the report.
TechStyle's Fabletics unit has long depended on founder-spokesperson Kate Hudson's celebrity and, more recently, Demi Lovato, and a tie-up with Rihanna in lingerie would take the celebrity angle to new heights, WWD notes. The brand two years ago tussled with another celebrity, Cher, who criticized the heavy sell for VIP membership, although she was later placated when the company sent her workout gear.
As TechStyle's brand launches largely rely on the help of celebrities, a collaboration with pop culture icon Rihanna would be a big get. The Barbadian singer-songwriter-dancer-producer-actor recently made a splash with her inclusive cosmetics line Fenty, and a line of apparel in the soaring intimates market would likely attract legions of her fans.
TechStyle apparently believes the collaboration would bring the company closer to its long-desired initial public offering, WWD reports. The company so far has attracted funding of $259.7 million, according to Crunchbase.
But the company has been bedeviled by controversies over its hard-sell, hard-to-cancel membership approach. The retailer made several changes to its policy two years ago, but that hasn't stopped complaints. Customers have argued that it wasn't clear that a monthly fee of $40 would be charged to their credit cards, and that the service was difficult to cancel. While it's now possible to cancel via the website, that requires an online live chat with a company representative, during business hours; otherwise customers must call and speak to a representative any time 24 hours a day.
Still, a membership approach in lingerie makes sense, analysts at Jane Hali & Associates recently told Retail Dive in an email, noting that "women need intimates replaced on an on-going basis." Subscription box retailer Stitch Fix recently rolled out its newest add-on category for women called Stitch Fix Extras, a curated collection of everyday essentials. The assortment includes camisoles, shapewear, underwear, tights, bralettes, bras and socks featuring brands like Wacoal, Free People and Hanky Panky as well as the company's private label, Everyday by Stitch Fix.