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Introducing Nubian Skin: Nude Lingerie and Hosiery for Women of Color


Every once in a great while, a lingerie line comes along that I'm deliriously excited about. Right now, that line is Nubian Skin Lingerie.

If you've never struggled with needing to find nude lingerie in a darker skintone, the importance of this brand may be lost on you. Already, I've run across various remarks from people asking, "Well, what about light skin?" or insisting that the occasional mocha brown fashion color (fashion colors are seasonal, by the way, and not available every year) is enough for women of darker complexions. And while there are some brands who've attempted this "nude bras in a variety of skintones" thing before (namely, MySkins, who I reviewed in 2010), they were not brands focused on darker-complected women, and as such, their deepest shades were still far too light for complexions like mine... and I don't think of myself as especially dark skinned.

I won't lie. Having a brand come out and explicitly say, "Yes, we are making bras specifically for women of color," makes me ecstatic. I feel gratified. I feel noticed. As Huny of Most Beauitfullest wrote in her article on Nubian Skin, it is frustrating to be a black woman in an industry that is almost completely unconcerned with ethnic diversity... or even at times openly hostile to it. Something like a nude bra in a skintone close to mine might sound mindnumbingly simple, but it's incredibly meaningful. I want Nubian Skin to succeed so badly it hurts.


Of course, it helps that these bras are genuinely beautiful. While there's a plain t-shirt bra option offered, I can't get enough of that floral lace overlay. It speaks to me. I want it in every color, including the ones that don't match my skintone. It's wonderful that this brand is as much concerned with looking good as being practical, and to my surprise, press for Nubian Skin has taken off in a big way. The label's been covered everywhere from Ebony to Elle to Cosmopolitan. It's obvious, more than obvious, that people are ready for this collection.

Though I've been an avid tweeter (and retweeter!) of Nubian Skin, I wanted to wait until the products were actually available to purchase before sharing them on TLA. I was disappointed a few years ago by a brand that attempted to do a range of nudes in darker skintones, and I had to be absolutely sure this line was going to make it to consumers before becoming hopeful again. When you've been wanting something for so long, it's almost devastating when it doesn't come to be.

Well, people are definitely able to purchase from Nubian Skin now. Their website is set up to show prices in GBP, USD, and AUD, and customers outside of the EU get the equivalent of a 20% discount on account of not paying VAT. Considering this is an independent brand fully financed by the founder (whose background is not in the fashion world), I think the price point is exceptional. Costs are on par with (or even slightly less than) what you'd find in a department store.

nubian_skin_lingerie_3Of course, starting a business is very risky, and one of the ways Nubian Skin has minimized risk is by limiting their initial colors and sizes. I've read a lot of feedback from people who've wondered why there wasn't more of both (the debut has four skintones and a size range of 30B thru 36DD), and the founder and designer behind Nubian Skin was kind enough to answer TLA straightforwardly:

"Over a year’s worth of research went into the colour selection, so I’m pretty happy with the colour range. No fabric will match anyone’s skin-tone exactly, but the aim of having “a different kind of nude” is for women of colour to have lingerie and hosiery that looks close to their skin colour and disappears under sheer or light coloured clothing. After a lot of talks with make up counters and artists and testing on countless women, we decided four colours would cover the majority of our target market. With regards to sizes, we knew that we had to be conservative about what was produced, so we went with popular, standard industry sizes. By doing this, we knew we’d cover the majority of women.

Most start ups fail in the first year of business, so we had to make sure we chose colours and sizes that were guaranteed to sell. If those sell well, then we can expand. It’s just business sense. With regards to colours, we were taking on a massive risk, because factories have a minimum base on product per colour. So if we were making one nude colour and had a 1000 minimum, for our brand, that minimum was actually 4000…those numbers add up very quickly.

We are completely understanding of the women who are upset that they cannot find their sizes. On a personal note, my sister can’t wear our bras (yet!), but she understood that from a business case perspective we had to take it one step at a time. We’ve launched the more sizes campaign to get more information about what sizes those who are not in our size range want. People threw down the gauntlet, so we picked it up and threw it back at them. If only 200 people fill out the survey, or everyone says they’re only willing to pay $20 a bra, then we’ll know the market for those products isn’t viable.

Hopefully, we’ll sell well! In addition to producing more sizes, my goal is to get Nubian Skin into retail outlets. I would love women to be able to walk into their local Nordstroms, or John Lewis and pick up a pair of Nubian Skin hold-ups or t-shirt bra."


I share Nubian Skin's optimism, and I hope they become so popular that they're the default brand, worldwide, for women of color. I know I plan on adding the lace push up bra and short to my personal lingerie collection (I think my skintone would be caramel?), and I'm telling everyone I know about this company. Nubian Skin's arrival to the lingerie industry was long overdue, and it is my fondest wish that they're here to stay.

What do you think of Nubian Skin? If you're a woman of color, would you buy their products?

Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.