These days, a woman’s wardrobe is incomplete if she doesn’t own a couple of nude-colored clothing–shoes, lingerie, and so on.
However, for black women, going shopping for nude lingerie often means having to choose from a variation of colors that are lighter than one’s skin tone. This is due to clothing companies making nude tones that are better fitting to white women, despite black people making three-quarters of the world’s population.
This gross disparity was not missed by Ade Hassan, a British-Nigerian who created Nubian Skin. Nubian Skin is a lingerie brand that makes flesh-coloured underwear that is suitable for women of color. It is a collection of bras, panties, and hosiery that come in different shades of brown.
Hassan, who was at the time working at a lucrative consultancy job, said:
“The concept sort of popped into my head, and I thought ‘this is it’.”
“I was so excited because I remember texting a friend and saying, ‘I figured out what I want to do when I grow up.’”
Although the concept came to Hassan in 2011, it wasn’t until 2012 she decided to put her idea to work. The same friend whom she texted on the day she got the idea sent her a message on her birthday which said:
‘It’s time to start living the life you’ve always imagined,’ and according to Ade Hassan, the following day she registered the company.
The bumpy road to creating Nubian Skin
There’s no easy path to success and Ade Hassan realized this from the onset. Companies do not easily warm up to start-ups and Hassan’s was no exception. Not only was that a tough hurdle to cross, but she also noticed other snags and resorted to investing in a consultant–the best decision she says she made.
After doing an extensive research on the wide range of skin tones of women of color, the result were four tones–cafe au lait, caramel, cinnamon, and berry.
Eventually, she had to leave her well-paid job to work full time for Nubian Skin and she admits it wasn’t a simple transition.
“If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, make sure that you 110 percent believe in the idea and know that it’s something that’s needed,”
“It’s going to be so much hard work, so much harder than you anticipated. And you have to be fine with that.”
Now Nubian Skin is being retailed by Nordstrom, ASOS, as well as on the Nubian Skin website. It has also gotten good reviews by stars like Kerry Washington, Thandie Newton, and even Tyra Banks. Beyonce and her dance team also sported the lingerie line during her Formation Tour.