Fighting Beige

by Chanel Olmo

Many of us girl bosses are vividly aware of the fashion industry’s diversity problem. It is influenced by white designers, white models and white consumers. The epitome of this plight is our perception of nude as the color beige.

In the words of Christian Louboutin "Nude is not a colour, it's a concept." Women of color have known this and have experienced this racial bias first hand. Unable to participate in certain trends due to the lack of concern for those of darker shades. It can make one feel unrecognized and forgotten, that society's ideal nude is based on white women.

EveryStylishGirl influencer and professional dancer, Annellyse Munroe has dealt with this particular bias when trying to find nude ballet slippers.  

“Since most shoes are available in pink, black or flesh tone, I match the color of my shoes to my skin by purchasing the flesh tone shoes and apply makeup to match it to my skin tone. It would be nice to show up at a store and have everything you desire in the color tone you need waiting for you.”

While this is a harsh reality for many, the silver lining is the industry is changing. With the launch of Jockey's newest line, 'Seamfree Air True To You Shades' which offers five different skin tones; and the extension of Christian Louboutin's nude collection that offers seven shades of nude, we see big brands displaying messages of inclusion.

 

 

True To You Shades Collection

Although this is a nudge in the right direction an important question still needs to be raised: why is the fashion industry just now figuring this out?

Believe it or not, small changes can nudge an industry. You, the consumer have more of an impact than you think. With the creation of brands such as Nubian Skin, BeingU, and NUDEST companies now see that there is a need they're not fulfilling.

Atima Lui, founder of NUDEST states “The wave of companies addressing the nude problem is exciting and well overdue. The beige shade of nude does not match 84% of the global population, meaning the global majority has been left out until these recent years.”

Bringing your business elsewhere to companies like NUDEST that make products for you, influenced by you, hurts their pockets and forces them to care. While we are a long way from concrete inclusion, let's enjoy this small victory in the fight for increased diversity.

 

Atira Barber-Ellis