Your FleshTone is now officially good for the bottom line.
For many years now, black entrepreneurs, frustrated with the lack of diversity and representation in fashion, have created their own successful businesses, risking their houses, relationships and sanity to join the ‘start-up life’. Brands like Nubian Skin, Kahmune and Matte have addressed gaping chasms in the fashion and lifestyle markets and created products that put people of color ‘to the front’.
Major mainstream brands, for a very long time have stood on the sidelines, watching the burgeoning success of the brands championing diversity, and adopting an “I’ll act when this affects ME” kind of attitude. Well now the (non-representative) jury is in. Your FleshTone is profitable. And here are the latest big name brands cashing in on diverse skin:
1. Target (USA)
Target (USA) now curates underwear and hosiery by FleshTone. This includes the colors cocoa, caramel, mochaccino, and honey beige – with bras starting at a very affordable $10 and underwear starting at $5. The specific Target brands offering diverse color matches (to date) are called ‘Merona’ and ‘Xhiliataton’. Target is also eyeballing the ‘nude for all’ space with a clear intention to start selling perennially popular nude pumps. With Target entering the market, nudes just became a whole lot more affordable.
To be fair, Hanes has been a player in the ‘FleshTone’ market since forever. Way back when, Hanes was one of the few readily available brands offering FleshTone hosiery for women of color with their ‘Brown Sugar‘ tights. For 2017, they’ve modernized and teamed up with Complexions Contemporary Ballet to offer the ‘Perfect Nudes’ range. This range will be available in 6 different skin tones, and will apparently offer a ‘foundation finish’ for your legs. Can’t wait!
3. Hanro of Switzerland
Swiss label and international powerhouse, Hanro of Switzerland has been a favorite of ours since a chance discovery of the brand while on holidays in Zurich in 2006. Fast forward more than ten years, and the Hanro brand is now joining the nude movement. It has released 5 ‘Invisible Cotton” hues across 4 different styles – its full brief, thong, high cut brief and Brazilian pants all get the FleshTone treatment. The colors available are powder, beige, chestnut, mocha and mahogany – so something for pretty much everyone. These pieces are beautifully simple and are a much needed addition to the FleshTone market which is replete with a lot of lace, microfiber and special occasion underwear. Sometimes it’s nice just to wear something with clean cotton lines. With prices ranging from $22 to $30USD for underwear, it’s at the top end of the no-frills market.
The ThirdLove brand (initially a start up launched in 2013), is perhaps best known for its bra sizing app as well as its half cup sizes. In 2016, ThirdLove announced an $8 million round of financing led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from investors such the former CEO of Spanx, the former CEO of Victoria’s Secret Stores, the founder of Starwood Hotels, and other high profile VIPs. ThirdLove has now joined the FleshTone market, and has added another feather to its female-owned cap. In 2017, its signature 24/7™ bra was released in 5 different naked hues (numbered 1 to 5). There is also a comprehensive and inclusive sizing range available, with bands from sizes 30 to 40, and cups from A to F, including some half sizes. With prices for bras starting at $68USD and prices for underwear starting at $12USD, money wise, ThirdLove’s latest offering is at the top end of the nude underwear market (where most brands seem to be).
5. Audrey Olivia
The Audrey Olivia collection is actually owned by the big name Dallas based company UI Global Brands LLC. Available at Walmart in the USA and Puerto Rico, Audrey Olivia’s new nude offering is the ‘Cheetah Deep Plunge bra’ – available in sizes 36 to 42DD and 32DDD to 40DDD. The 4 different ‘nude’ hues available from this brand are Cocoa, Mocha, Mochachino and Frappe. This self described ‘body positive’ line is a much needed offering for curvaceous FleshTone women, and the availability (Walmart) and prices (bras start at $35USD), are quite reasonable.
Since the inception of FleshTone.net, we’ve been campaigning for mainstream brands to diversify their products and to #banishbeige as the default option for all skin tones and types. So now that this is ACTUALLY happening, how do we feel about it? The answer is, we feel GREAT about it – the more choice the better. And while there are many more choices then there were 3 years ago, there is still a long way to go.
Bigger brands will generally mean lower prices. Black-owned, innovative boutique brands will often have higher prices because they have lower batch sizes and smaller order quantities. However, this does NOT mean you need to abandon these brands who have had your back all this time in favor of a cheaper option. These brands will almost always have superior quality, and from what we’ve seen, the best ability to truly match your FleshTone. Some of the bigger and newer players in the market haven’t quite mastered the darkest skin tones in particular, offering instead a strange purple/taupe or sandy kind of hue. Brands like Naja and Nubian Skin have got your back there. They’re far more expensive than the Target brands, but sometimes it pays to save your money for one more pay cycle before splurging on your ‘true nude’.
Who got it wrong?
With mainstream brands testing new markets and finally diverting from their ‘beige lane’, there are always going to be missteps and face-palm moments. The list is long – Pepsi, Nivea, Marc Jacobs, Urban Decay and Interview are all brands who in recent times have caused controversies for their lack of sensitivity when it comes to selling their wares in a diverse global market. Let’s hope for better consultation and general common sense in the second quarter of 2017. It’s really not that hard. Really.
Brands to watch
On a positive note, there are so many brands coming out with something exciting to offer our FleshTone readers. The UK has been seriously representing with brands like Kahmune and Bianca Miller. Two lesser known UK brands – Brun et Noir Hosiery and Sheer Chemistry are also about to pop in a big way. Stay tuned to FleshTone.net for their hosiery profiles, along with heaps of other brands that are here to make our lives a little easier.
The FleshTone.net Team