When many of us think of "nude" tones, a light, beige colour probably comes to mind. The only problem is that not everyone's skin tone matches that hue.
One woman in particular, Toronto native Chantal Carter Taylor, has taken notice of the lack of options for women of colour in the underwear department for years. So she decided to create her own brand.
That's how the Love and Nudes was born, an inclusive line of nude underwear that matches the various skin tones of the women Taylor hopes will rock her products.
"We're developing a line of bras and panties that represent the diverse colours of the world," the fashion industry veteran tells the CBC. "I wanted to create something that was for us, by us."
Although Carter Taylor's line appears to be the first of its kind in Canada, in the U.S., businesswoman Catalina Girald created Naja lingerie last year after noticing African American Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas wearing "nude" ankle wraps that didn't match her skin tone. It was at that point she realized there was a gap in the clothing industry when it came to catering to women of colour.
"I didn’t want it to be about singling out one specific race, ethnicity or colour," Girald said in a press release last May. "It is about equality and it need to be about every person."
Similarly, luxury shoe retailer Christian Louboutin also noticed the lack of options for darker skinned women and released a seven-shade nude shoe line of flats and pumps last year as well.
"We're all beautiful in our own way, in our own skin tone, colour, whatever that is. Just be your own beauty."
The need for more options when it comes to "nude" tones are vital, since women of colour have been left out of the conversation, and media imagery, for so long.
African American psychologist Tara Raines told Fashionista in 2012 why it's so important for women to see their skin reflected in lingerie.
"As a group, [women of colour] are still fighting to have our beauty recognized," she said. "Part of feeling beautiful is looking like ourselves."
"I feel it is imperative that women of colour be represented in bras, panties, and lingerie," she added. "We shouldn't have to go to a specialty store, on a goose chase, or spend a fortune to get a bra that looks more like us. Being ignored is a slight. Every time I shop for bras, I am subjected to a micro-aggression."
As for Carter Taylor, while the Love and Nudes line won't be available for purchase until May 2017, she already has high hopes for the success of her brand.
"Love and Nudes is about more than just undergarments," she tells The Huffington Post Canada. "We’re creating a brand that empowers women to love their skin."
"Our goal is to create a global community designed to celebrate, connect and share one another’s individuality and showcase the beauty of difference through our #OwnYourTone video series," she adds, "where we showcase women of colour in our communities who are doing positive things to inspire others to live their best lives."
The #OwnYourTone series focuses on women of colour owning their voice and skin tone, Carter Taylor says. And works as a storytelling campaign that shows girls and women what's possible when they love the skin they're in.
Click the bio link to support our crowdfunding campaign for diverse melanin skin tone intimates or at www.igg.me/at/loveandnudes Love & Nudes is having #OwnYourTone month! We’ll be broadcasting a series of interviews with beautiful strong women in different communities about their experiences as women of colour. This week's question is “How has being a visible minority affected how you interact with the rest of society?" Hear Natalie Bell's @pegcitylovely answer. Check out Facebook to see the rest of her story on www.facebook.com/ownyourtone We want to hear from you! What's your experience? #ownyourtone #loveandnudes
"We're all beautiful in our own way, in our own skin tone, colour, whatever that is," the designer shares in her CBC interview. "Just be your own beauty."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story referenced Chantal Carter Taylor's last name as Taylor only, when it is actually Carter Taylor.
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