What does “nude” mean to you? If we take a moment to consider the dictionary definition, it is a state of being, to be “naked, unclothed or bare, as a person or the body”. The moment that I began searching for my “nude” dress, was the moment that I truly realized the exclusion of women of color in nude fashion.
In the fashion industry “nude” is a beige colour. Think about all the fashion items that are considered as “nude”. All of the heels, the clothing, and the accessories are beige!
In October 2015, I was seeking a gorgeous nude dress for my hue. As a dark skinned black woman, my hue is not beige. This normal shopping spree, turned into a quest due to the difficulty in finding such a shade. I searched HIGH and LOW for a nude item for my complexion. This was nowhere to be found. I mean truly nowhere!
For me, this then posed the question, nude for whom? This “nude” is not for all, because nude comes in all beautiful shades, that are not represented within nude fashion. This “nude” caters to one skin tone only, Caucasian. This then triggered further thoughts. Why is my shade not considered nude? Why is my shade unavailable in the form that I want it to be? Nude clothing is supposed to present a close match to YOUR skin tone. This widely available beige shade is only representative of one skin tone.
The Merriam Webster site openly defines nude clothing, as “having a color (as pale beige or tan) that matches the wearers skin tone”. Merriam Webster’s definition is an accurate description of what the industry has deemed “nude”, a clear exclusion of black women and other women of colour from nude fashion. This itself started a #NudeAwakening campaign, challenging the site to change its definition. The site still has not changed its definition by the way!
This explicit exclusion of women of colour in nude fashion blatantly displays the beauty ideals that society imposes on women, particularly black women. It is as obvious as saying, that this beige shade is the “norm”, and if you do not look like this, or if your complexion is not close to this you are not beautiful, you do not matter, nor are you even thought of by these huge fashion brands, and couture fashion houses.
This lack of representation of brown shades in nude fashion is a clear example of what is still considered the “norm” in society, and what is not. And it comes at no surprise when we look at the fashion and media industries as a whole where black women are scarce. We do not see them as models for fashion brands, or on the runways during the renowned fashion weeks. It is about time that this is challenged, because we are here and we do matter.there are few black women.
Over the past few years, we have began to speak out against this with hashtags suchs as #FlexinMyComplexion, #ShadesofBrown #BlackGirlsRock. The recent social media campaign, #UnfairAndLovely, drew the worlds attention to the western beauty ideals of lighter skin is the “right” skin, in retaliation to the bleaching cream ‘Fair and Lovely’.
So where does this leave us?
I am a firm believer of being the change that you want to see! So, for the past 8 months I have been preparing for the launch of my new fashion brand; Shades of Mia Mina.
I want to see more women of colour as models for brands, I want to see nude clothing available in shades other than beige, and I want to change the current representation of nude within the fashion industry, because “nude” comes in all shades. This is exactly what Shades of Mia Mina is going to do!
Shades of Mia Mina will provide an online nude fashion destination for women across of all skin tones. The name “Mia” originates from the Latin language, meaning “mine”. “Mina” means “beauty” in Japanese. These words define the brand, as we recognizes and celebrate the beauty and individuality of different skin tones.
We aim to provide black women, in particular with gorgeous nude clothing for their true skin tone. The brand will be launching in June 2016 with statement nude dresses in 6 shades of nude, ranging from a fair ivory tone to a deep mocha. We want to celebrate the beauty of dark skin, instead of the degradation that dark skin face in society!
The industry still has a long way to go, but these initial steps are the beginning of change for inclusion and diversity.
Ladies, it is time to de-beige nude because our black matters!
This post was sponsored by Shades of Mia Mina
Written by :Shades of Mia Mina Founder & CEO: Nicola