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Is The Fashion Industry Finally Embracing Women Of Colour?

For the first time in history, every runway at New York Fashion Week 2017 had at least one woman of colour. Almost one third (31.5%) of catwalk models were non-white at the major fashion event last month. Although this is progressive compared to two years ago, when models of colour only made up 20% of catwalk, the fashion and beauty industry still has a long way to go when it comes to diversity.

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Many major fashion brands still aren’t catering for the non-white market, a quick search of 5 of the UK’s largest fashion retail websites for ‘nude’ coloured underwear revealed only one retailer offering a shade darker than the tone designed for Caucasian skin.

It seems that the colour ‘nude’ for most retailers is a shade of pale beige that’s only nude for one group of women; white women.

However, some fashion brands are revolutionising the market with products that specifically cater for many different skin tones of women of colour, bringing a whole spectrum of nudes into the picture:


Naja / Via

Naja are clearly leading the way with their 7 shades of colour ‘Nudes for All’ campaign. “We started Nude For All because we believed it was time to change the idea that there is only one nude.” States the eco-friendly company on its website. Catalina Girald, who set up the company says that she was inspired to create the campaign during the 2012 Olympics, when seeing Gabby Douglas in ‘nude’ coloured shoes that in no way matched her skin tone.

Bianca Miller

Kitty Von Cupcake / Via

Bianca Miller, originally famous for being the Apprentice runner up in 2015, specialises in tights for women of colour. Miller has 8 shades of sheer nude to suit women of all tones. Her tights are now available in TopShop, and Bianca herself was recently ranked no. 74 in the UK's most influential entrepreneurs. How could you let this one slip away Lord Sugar!

Nubian Skin

Nubian Skin / Via

Nubian Skin launched a selection of 5 nude coloured shoes for women of all colours, in two timeless classic styles. Founder, Ade Hassan, decided it was time for ‘a different kind of nude’ after getting frustrated by the lack of skin-tone choices. Nubian Skin’s colour names are also inspiring from Café au Lait to Berry.


Maybelline / Via

The beauty industry is already way ahead of fashion, but it’s still not satisfying its non-white customers. According to a study by Superdrug, 70% of black and Asian women say that high street stores do not cater for their beauty needs. More expensive brands such as Bobbi Brown have been providing make-up for darker skinned women since the 80s. Other designer brands including Mac, Urban Decay, Estée Lauder, Dior, Lancôme have been quick to follow.

However, only a small handful of more affordable brands now cater for all shades of women, including L’Oreal, No. 7 and more recently Maybelline. The fashion industry is a long way off giving women 50 shades of nude, but at least it's finally waking up.

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