Why Rihanna’s Instagram Was Groundbreaking for the Fashion Industry

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(Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

(Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

There are no more inspirational quotes. There are no more massive joints. There are no more phucks to give (or not give, more accurately). There is nothing to see, there is nothing to heart, for Rihanna no longer has an Instagram account. Yet on the evening of June 2, Instagram was flooded with topless photos of the star. So, what happened?

Rihanna’s stock in the fashion world has been on the rise since she teamed up with stylist Mel Ottenberg in 2011 and her meteoric rise reached new heights when she was named this year’s CDFA Fashion Icon of the Year. The award was given in recognition of “her contributions to the fashion industry as well as her philanthropic partnership with the MAC AIDS Fund’s Viva Glam campaign.” CDFA CEO Steven Kolb called her “fashion’s most exciting ambassador in recent memory.” His words rang true upon Rihanna’s arrival at the gala, wearing a completely sheer dress made of mesh and 230,000 Swarovski crystals.

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On the night she collected one of fashion’s biggest honors, Rihanna chose to wear something that showed her support for the activists behind the hashtag #FreeTheNipple, started by Scout Willis in protest of Instagram’s policy against female nudity on the platform. Their usage terms ban images that are “nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos.”


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