Do you remember being a child coloring at school and asking a friend to pass you the "skin color"? Do you remember what color they lent you? I bet it was either a light pink tone or a peachy beige that came in every color, crayon, or markers boxset. Why would we make such associations from a very early stage of life? I remember drawing every character with that color, but when it came to making family portraits I would get an internal conflict. It’s not so hard to guess why, but I’ll explain. When it came to my mom and sister it was easy because their skin colors weren’t that different from that famous crayon; however, my dad and I have a darker tone, and there wasn’t any color that could match ours. You might find this kind of silly, but actually this idea of only having one specific skin color to represent humanity can be seen everywhere, from silly color and crayon boxes, to types of makeup and fashion –and, thinking about it, these aren't really important subjects. Skin tones and variations have always been badly represented and even mistreated through social differentiations, but that’s a subject we won’t be dealing with right now.
The point is that, just as there are endless hues of blues, greens, and oranges, there are many skin tonalities that shouldn’t be just represented by one single color. Many artists, brands, and campaigns have been creating projects that try to show the world that there are literally hundreds of shades. One of the most interesting ones is Humanae Project by photographer Angélica Dass, where she arranges portraits of people and associates their skin color to a specific Pantone.
Following the same idea, there are now brands that have created collections of underwear, shoes, ballet outfits, among many other fashion pieces, to fit every color. Now in recent months or even a couple of years (not more than that), "nude" has become an extremely fashionable word that’s been applied to almost any single element of fashion and beauty. There’s a huge nude lip craze, nude sneakers, and nude clothing that basically includes anything in a beige, peach, or light pink tonality. Even for makeup, there weren’t many brands creating foundations for darker women. Now, it’s all evolving and many have become more inclusive when it comes to shades.
Although these brands are making a great job in expanding their horizons, nudes are still a very restricting fashion trend. Let me explain. While it’s great that there are so many color options, we still have the conception of lighter colors as being nude, while still believing that darker hues belong to the range of browns. I don’t see fair people choosing a brownish item and describing it as nude. So my point is that, no matter how many options we have, we still have stuck in our heads the entry that the Merriam-Webster dictionary had a couple of years ago for the word nude: “relating to nakedness or ‘having the color of a white person's skin’.”
More importantly, there’s still the idea that we have to get exactly the right shade, and I think we can actually try any nude color, as long as we notice that it’s a nude color. There's a wide variety of personalities, cultures, stories, and colors we should include in our view of the world so that we widen our range, just as it's happening with nude colors in fashion brands.
The images illustrating this article are from @fleshtoneofficial, a website that collects all brands making inclusive nude products.
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