Frustrated by the lack of real “nude” lingerie options available to women of color, British designer and businesswoman Ade Hassan shook the fashion world to its core by launching Nubian Skin in October. Featuring a wide variety of lingerie options in colors ranging from “Café au Lait” to “Berry,” Nubian Skins’s popularity exploded thanks to striking viral marketing and social media campaigns prominently featuring black and brown models and offering products that filled a void for so many women of color.
Responding to the retailer’s popularity in the United States — all through mail orders that can become very expensive — Nubian Skin officially began stocking its products at Nordstrom:
A photo posted by Nubian Skin Lingerie (@nubianskin) on Jul 3, 2015 at 7:44am PDT
Customers can order one of four products—two types of bras, a seamless thong, and mid-rise briefs—in a range of skin tones.
In a March interview with the LA Times, Hassan explained the methodology and challenges behind finding the right skin tones for the brand’s products:
It took us about a year to finalize those colors. I started by going to makeup counters. I found as many brands as I could that had a decent offering for women of color. I went around with a Pantone [color] swatch and basically asked them, “What are your four most popular colors?” and matched the recurring colors to Pantone’s. I sent that off to the factory, got the first samples back and they were terrible. So, I was like, “Right, that’s not going to work.” At one point I literally took pots of foundation to the manufacturers to replicate.
It was a process in saying, “OK, I actually need a little bit more yellow in that, more red in that,” and having so many of my incredibly patient friends try things on over and over and over again. You’re never going to match everybody’s skin tone exactly but you can find something that disappears under sheer clothing and is a beautiful, complementary color.