50 Shades of “Nude”
Some of you may remember that Christian Louboutin made available a wide spectrum of “nude” colored shoes last year. Now, a lingerie brand called Nubian Skin has a new collection of undergarments for women of color! I think this is wonderful. To be honest, the fact that what is generally considered “nude” (the color) is not everyone’s nude never even crossed my mind until a few months ago. I was dressing a beautiful black model and I grabbed a pair of “nude” heels to go with the look… then it occurred to me that the shoes would not appear nude on the model. There were no shoes that matched her skin tone so I switched them out for typical black heels. A couple weeks after this first realization, I was browsing through some photos of a Dance Theatre of Harlem exhibition (I like to follow the dance world even though I’m only recreational) and in one case there were several pairs of pointe shoes that were assorted shades of brown and a little article that went with it. Again, it hit me that the traditional ballet pink pointe shoes and tights were not meant for women of darker complexions. Now, I know that dancers have to make their own pointe shoe alterations (break them in, sew on elastics and ribbons, etc.) so it’s understandable that dancers of color have to dye their own shoes. That didn’t bother me. However, I was reminded of that time a couple weeks before and I thought, How ridiculous is it that it’s 2014 and “nude” apparel/accessories don’t work for people of color the way they do for white people? Now, I’m very happy that Louboutin and now Nubian Skin are fixing this problem but why did it take so long to happen? I’m a light-skinned Asian so while this particular inconvenience never affected to me I do understand feeling like your group isn’t getting a lot of acknowledgement. I turn on the television, watch a movie, see a Broadway show- the odds of seeing a character that looks like me is very unlikely. I hope these new “nude” lines mean that will change in the near future.