Have you ever bought or searched for skintone underwear, be it bras, knickers or hosiery, before? Considering you are reading my blog chances are high you have.
Here’s what comes up if you search for a bra in the colour option “nude” and size 34C (I picked a common size for high street brands) at massive online underwear retailer with a rather well picked selection of nice lingerie brands: figleaves.co.uk.
Results were a couple of pages long, this is a screenshot of the first and second page. Do you notice anything?
I did the same with brastop, looking for bras in bigger cup sizes, again picking the option “nude” in the colour menu.
And again at Victoria’s Secret …
… and H&M.
Do you notice anything? Do you think one of the bras would match your skintone? I’m not talking fit or style preference here, just colour.
Yes? Oh, then I guess you’re white. Because if you look at the bras again you don’t only see a lack of racial diversity in the models, but also that “nude” equals “beige” in lingerie world.
And because I KNOW people will argue “d’uuh then just search for “brown” bras” - I did. Here are the results.
Not so many bras suitable as nude underwear when you pick “brown”, huh?
(Also, VS, you need to learn colours. In what world is lilac brown? And no, there’s not a brown colour version if you click through the link.)
And if you pick black the results are just all over the place, as every bra with a bit of black lace is labelled to pop up too when searching for colour black apparently. I spare you the pictures here.
This short demonstration is just a tiny tiny fraction of a huge problem in fashion: The negligence of POC’s needs for suitable fashion. And it doesn’t really get more basic than nude/skintone underwear - but as you see, even this poses a great problem if you are not white and can wear beige or rosé tones.
So let's get real:
But this post isn’t just another Thinkpiece on Race written by a white girl(™) - it should be about one of the most awesome brands of the last year that just turned one year old: Nubian Skin.
When you look at their About Section you see, someone was fed up with the choices fashion gave her:
About Nubian Skin
A nude bra and skin tone hosiery are the basics of every woman’s wardrobe, at least in theory. For many women of colour, finding suitable skin-tone hosiery and lingerie has not been an option. Frustrated by the lack of skin-tone choices to go with her ever-expanding wardrobe, Nubian Skin founder, Ade Hassan, decided it was time for ‘a different kind of nude’.
“Empowering Women. Embracing our Colour.”
That said, she subsequently put together one of the most interesting businesses in the lingerie world of the last few years with their HQ in London, and in just one year in business they are already stocked in US (Nordstrom, Bluestockings Boutique), UK, Portugal, Nigeria, at Asos and shipping worldwide.
Offering nude underwear and hosiery for women of colour in four different skintones (Berry, Cinnamon, Caramel, Cafe au Lait) and already many different styles, they launched with quite a splash.
Since starting their company Ade Hassan’s business grew rapidly and gained fans and customers worldwide, which shows mainly two things: A) She’s doing a really good job and B) she is hitting the nail on the head with her products and filling a hole in a market that underserves WOC in some of the most basic fashion needs.
As a white woman I literally didn’t think how it would feel if I couldn’t just buy a nude bra in H&M or any high street lingerie shop. I grew up in white as white can be Europe and it shows how inert racism is in our fashion and culture. I was totally oblivious.
I’m of course not a qualified person on the topic of race. But I was not brought up to be sensible to what POC were going through in terms of institutional racism, and now I see how vital and it is to have brands such as Nubian Skin to erase the normalization of whiteness which is still perpetuating racism and contributes to make the lives of POC harder than they should be. Browns are nudes, too!
At their webpage they have an easy to use section where you can navigate between their four main lines:
The Essential line, including two seamless bras ( A t-shirt bra and a convertible bra), and three different kinds of seamless knickers (briefs, shorts, thong)
The Lace Collection: A lace push up bra and lace shorts
So all in all, that's a rather big range of items, don't you think?
When it comes to bras they are starting at underbust size 30 (YAY) offering Sizes from 30-40 A-DD - a solid basic sizing range for a newcomer brand.
Yes, if you’re big busted you won’t find a bra from Nubian Skin YET. But every company has to start somewhere and seriously, if you count those sizes this is already a lot. Plus they even already offer different styles of bras:
- A padded T-Shirt bra for 29GBP, a Strapless Convertible for 34GBP and a Lace Bra for 39GBP!
- In their essential range you can find briefs and shorts for 14GBP, thongs for 13 GBP and in their lace range shorts for 18GBP. Sizing range for panties is S-XL.
- Besides Bras and Knickers Nubian Skin also launched hosiery offering tights for 8,50 GBP and hold-ups for 10,50GBP.
So, to sum up: Nubian Skin offers three different kinds of bras, 4 different pairs of knickers, tights and hold-ups, in four different skin tones. With their cheapest bra starting at 29GBP and their lace bra topping at 39GBP they are offering their products in a rather affordarble pricing range.
In my opinion, this is a launch worth every splash it got.
Dear Nubian Skin, I offer you all the best for your future - you are what's needed in the lingerie and fashion world.
If you are interested in reading a review for Nubian Skin then watch this space, I got my dear friend Anne (@FrenchHeaux on twitter) the Lace Shorts and Tights and she will do a review on my blog, yay! I would've gotten her a bra, but her size isn't yet made. Also, all the thanks to her for helping me write this blog post without causing microaggressions or fucking up. I really appreciate it, thank you.
stay up to date with Nubian Skin (Also how great is that corporate design with the different browns? someone really knows their stuff.)