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Adidas partners with reggae star Chronixx as rivalry with Rihanna’s Puma Fenty sneaker hots up

Two sportswear giants have gone head to head this week, with singer Rihanna showing her latest Fenty collection for Puma at Paris Fashion Week and Adidas announcing that upcoming reggae star Chronixx will feature in its latest Spezial collection.

Rihanna presented a school-inspired Autumn Winter 2017 collection for Puma at Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday, which will hit stores this fall, while her latest Fenty collection is available online from today.

Rihanna – full name Robyn Rihanna Fenty – said her latest designs were inspired by school cliques such as nerds, jocks and skaters, and presented the collection at the Bibliothèque National de France.

Rihanna at the launch of her Autumn Winter 2017 Fenty collection for Puma, at Paris Fashion Week in March 2017
Rihanna at the launch of her Autumn Winter 2017 Fenty collection for Puma, at Paris Fashion Week in March 2017

"When I was in school, it was always my dream to be able to dress up in whatever I wanted. But in Barbados, it was mandatory to wear a school uniform, so I had so much fun this season creating these 'Back to School' inspired looks, and I'm honored to present the collection in such a majestic national monument," she said in an online release.

The fashion industry traditionally showcases new collections during fashion weeks around the world in spring and fall, with clothes available the following season. Rihanna's Spring Summer 2017 Fenty collection for Puma was shown at Paris Fashion Week in September 2016, and goes on sale online today.

It features sneakers with satin bows, a lace up heel and a zipped sneaker boot, designs which aim to "merge sport silhouettes with the romance and grandeur of 18th century France," according to the Puma website.

Reggae artist Chronixx in a promotional image for his collaboration with Adidas Originals Spezial
Reggae artist Chronixx in a promotional image for his collaboration with Adidas Originals Spezial

Meanwhile, Adidas today launched its latest Spezial collection, part of its Originals line, with a video featuring reggae artist Chronixx posted online. The sportswear brand claims the line finds parallels between British casual and Jamaican reggae culture, it said in an online release.

"Two cultures which, at first glance, seem glaringly different but share a host of commonalities. Linked through a love of music, football and fashion, the two subcultures are paid tribute to in reinvented staples of modern menswear."

Celebrity partnerships are an important part of marketing for sportswear brands. Adidas' new chief executive Kasper Rorsted told CNBC on Wednesday that it will continue to invest heavily in the U.S., and its collaboration with Kanye West on a Yeezy Boost line has previously been credited for an uplift in men's sneaker sales.

Puma has credited Rihanna's Fenty line for boosting full year 2016 sales, and has said it will continue to work with her as well as models Kylie Jenner and Cara Delevingne in 2017.

Clarification: This article has been updated following clarification from Adidas on Chronixx's involvement in its Spezial collection.

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