Exploring some of the options available.

Nubian Skin intimates

After Fenty Beauty, there are no valid excuses anymore—they’ve been taken away.”

-Patrice Grell Yursik of afrobella.com

Shade Inclusive. In 2019 – a post-FENTY society – we are way beyond the use of explaining this phenomenon. However, it is great to discover all the NEW things available to women and men in all shades who search for “nude” or color-matching products.  

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a trend forecast class to a group of Gen-Z beauty majors at FIDM, and found that 100% of the class focused their sites on shade inclusive and customization product development. So I wanted to find out how this is being applied to footwear, fashion and lifestyle.

The popular term, “Shade Inclusive” has gone beyond the beauty world. Those words evoke a movement of sorts that has been on the lips of women in cosmetics since the time of Iman Cosmetics back in the 90’s. 

In the beginning…

First to call was “Uncle Christian” – Christian Louboutin – with his “Nude” collection that immediately caught attention and rocked the ideas of the footwear industry, beauty and intimates. The So Kate designer has limited his color selection since its launch, but has cleverly added clear PVC to uppers supporting supply for a high-end demand. With other high heel pumps coming into the market with taglines like “for women of color” and ethnic contributions to fashion – it would be a hard segment to contest with.

Photo: Christian Louboutin

Rebecca Allen

In the department store and fashion boutique arena, it can be a challenge for any executive of color to find a great nude shoe to finish off their sophisticated looks. Former Goldman Sachs VP, Rebecca Allen, developed a line of footwear offering a fantastic flat called the SLIM as well as a pump and evening shoe. 

Her collection embodies around 5 shades from deep earthy tones to creamy hues.

I believe we are unstoppable when we feel comfortable in our own skin.

Rebecca Allen
Rebecca Allen’s “2 Strap” evening sandal.

From YEEZY to breezy

Ally Shoes consists of Samantha Dong (the visionary), Dr. Roxann Clarke (the foot surgeon), and Sara Taramillo (YEEZY designer). Together, they have included a 5 shade range in their fit-to-order custom footwear line. They intend to reinvent bespoke footwear by combining fashion and engineering with every construction. Developed to promote comfort, women can boldly walk the streets of New York in in style and feeling empowered.

Skin of Nubia

French Coffee was one of the very few choices aside from cream or beige or even off-black from Berkshires, now, Nubian Skin has a wide category range from hosiery, intimates and footwear. Visit their showroom in central London and their concierge service will find the perfect apparel and footwear for you. You can also get your hands on the collection at select Von Maur department stores across the US and Nordstrom.com.


Hand-crafted in Italy, Kahmune also offers customized made-to-order solution for finding a flat, pump or heel within the 10 flesh-tone options.

You can sport your style in shade names like Edinburgh, Goa and Enugu. Shade seekers can even host a “find-your-shade party” featuring different constructions and fittings. Also based in the UK, find time to drop by and give a visit.

Photo: Khamune

Different Soles for Nude

Nude Sole offers shade inclusive pumps in two heel heights, and flats using vegan materials. The styles come in high polished finishes and, yes, “nude” soles.

You can shop your shade with reference to a celebrity. 

Espresso – Lupita Nyong’o

Cocoa – Gabrielle Union

Fox – Mindy Kaling

Dawn – Jennifer Lopez

Hue for Every Man

Any why should men be omitted from this conversation? Premium grooming products for men are on a fast track – Hue For Every Man does not disappoint with Sulfate Free, Paraben Free and Silicone Free products.  The brand uses leverage of the busy lifestyles of sports athletes like Matt Barnes and R&B crooner, Maxwell to model the results.

Started in Los Angeles, Hue For Every Man is founded by Jessica Estrada and footwear designer, Kyle Frazier.

Men who are looking for more natural ingredient list can find these goodies at  select Target stores, as well as its own online grooming destination. 

Hue For Every Man product line

Menaji offers a Make up 101 “Camo” kit for men with a variety of shades from light to deep.

The advanced men’s skincare line is produced in the USA and addresses that annoying daily pet-peeve…oily skin.

Menaji has a grasp on HD cosmetics for men.

On Pointe!

Michaela DePrince

Ballet pointe shoe makers are introducing with haste shades to accommodate its new students thanks to the achievements of Prima Ballerinas like, Misty Copeland, Yuan Yuan Tan, Elisa Carrillo Cabrera, and Michaela Mabinty DePrince.

Collaborating with Ballet Black UK, Freed of London increased the SKU numbers of their satin pointe shoes in “Ballet Bronze” and “Ballet Brown” on special order.

Photo: Freed of London

New York-based Gaynor Miden added more deep toned choices to their classic pink satins as well.

Photo: Gaynor Miden

Under it all

Undergarments in flesh-tone colors may not be news but Naja underwear promoted the zero waste concept by using remnant materials that would otherwise go to waste. With 9 shades to choose from, their intimates packs a powerful punch of ethical awareness and women-owned empowerment.

Beyond it all is gender, size, and shape inclusive! This is the idea behind TomboyX. The collection includes boyshorts, bikinis, trunks, and one bra in nude neutrals. All comfort driven and pretty much…for All.


Shade Inclusive Design

According to WGS’s outlook to 2020, platforms such as Amaliah.com, which represents Muslim women, and The Other Box, which celebrates people of colour and other minorities in creative industries, are dedicated to exploring a more inclusive approach to design.

The skin-tone palette will be the perfect place to start when building the 2020 collection as all points will start with…YOU. Every generational code wants to define themselves and not be defined by others. It starts with who you are and what you want. This is the answer to finding a product that speaks to the masses. What works for you may finally work for others.

Why is this important?

In 1992 Crayola Crayon introduced a range of flesh-tone colors in response to educators who had children in classrooms that could not find a shade of crayon that represented who they were. In art, it is essential that you can find your voice in all mediums as you express yourself. These colors were developed to represent skin colors of the world (with Black and White as blenders, of course).

Crayola Skin Tone Educator Pack

Customers today are looking for brands to address their ethnic diversity.

  • My skin = My shade = My way
  • Women and men do not want to feel their complexion is “left out”
  • Beauty needs to be ALL inclusive if you want to sell!
  • There is no color boundary on skin/flesh-tones.

Items labeled the color “nude” do not match 84% of the global population.

Model Winnie Harlow is the epitome of shade individuality.

Technologies to improve fashion’s application to an all inclusive world – the Nudemeter developed by Nudest.co founder Atima Lui, works pretty much like the color identifier CAPSURE from pantone, but for the commercial market to understand. You can hold the nudemeter up to your skin and it will distinguish which color-range you are best suited for. After your color is identified, you can shop from a selection of brands that offer items from cosmetics to undergarments.

Beauty of Skin-tone

Photo: Pantone

Pantone released a guide to understanding skin tones in graphic design, home and fashion color chips.  There are 110 skin tones to choose from.  Color selection will be done via number system defining hue, undertone, lightness and darkness.

Although to define beauty in skin tone is to discover that not every one is equal and this new color standard will find itself increasing as development continues.


Shall we go on?

Absolutely! When you want to show Diversity In Healthcare, heal your paper cut with Tru Color bandages. Promoting fundraising efforts – you can bandage the back of your heels as well to cover those unsightly blisters. The clear bandages do not work as well in this case because of the lack of protective fibers.

Travel – Innclusive.com was developed in response to an unfriendly AirBnB experience, promises a inclusive experience no matter WHO you are.

Color inclusive and people inclusive are a must to consider as businesses move toward the global market. Customization can mean to listen to what people want and need. It clearly it does NOT mean just adding a brown or pale peach color and calling it “Shade Inclusive” or slapping a “gluten free” label on a bottle.

It needs to be correct and with real people – your customers – in mind. Understanding what this means, why and how to sustain and implement this concept should be on everyone’s development plan in the immediate future.

Tanita Gray

Editor-In-Chief, Publisher and Founder of Last-Report.com, and CEO of Shoes Waste. Gray is a footwear, accessory and apparel designer/developer by day - writer and content architect by night. With over 17 years of experience in the fashion industry, you can find her teaching sustainability classes, drawing thumbnails, writing in her journal, giving her husband & children enormous hugs, or eating french fries.

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