Ade Hassan: 50 Shades of Nude

A nude bra is a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. It’s arguably the most important piece of clothing a woman can own. It gets the most use, goes with the most outfits, and provides a certain confidence that only a good bra can. However, until recently, not all women have had access to a truly perfect nude bra and that is a crying shame.

In most lingerie stores, there is a “nude” bra that comes in one shade: beige. But, as we all know by now, not every skin tone fits into that beige category. Some women are darker some women are lighter, some have olive, pink, or yellow undertones, and beige just isn’t cutting it anymore. This lack of options makes fashion exponentially more difficult. Just trying to wear a white shirt without a bra outline is a challenge for those with skin tones outside of that beige range.

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However, former private-equity senior associate and now founder of Nubian Skin, Ade Hassan decided it was time for a new kind of nude. Hassan was born to Nigerian parents in north Britain, growing up, she went to high school in the U.S. and still visits the U.S. several times a year. Recently, she started her own lingerie and hosiery company, called Nubian Skin, that created a line of underwear that features a range of skin tones to provide essential needs for women of all colors and it all started with her own personal frustrations.

In an interview with LA Times Magazine, Hassan said: “As a woman with a darker skin tone, you see things on the catwalk, or you just have a white T-shirt or a sheer blouse you want to wear, and it was basically impossible to find something that lets you pull off that look. A lot of times people think fashion is quite trivial but it’s a way people express themselves. And so not being able to have something as simple as wearing hosiery that’s my skin color can be incredibly frustrating.” She knew that if she was having this problem that plenty of other women must share in her distress. So the idea for Nubian Skin was born.

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She found the colors for her products using makeup counters, which is something I never would have thought of, but it is honestly brilliant. She would find brands that offered a large selection of makeup for women of color and then ask for their four most popular tones. Hassan would match these colors to fabric samples and then send them to her manufacturers to create the material for her products. The colors didn’t come out perfect the first time, but Hassan didn’t give up, and with some maneuvering of the colors she finally got the right tones for her new ‘nudes.’ She has been outfitting colored women everywhere with everything from hosiery to bras and panties.

ode6Now the most rewarding part of Hassan’s day is knowing that she is helping plenty of women everywhere who have faced the same struggles she has with fashion. For an interview with the Huffington Post, Hassan shared, “I hope our products make people think ‘my skin tone actually matters.’” The next step is for these nudes to find a spot in your favorite department stores. “Our next big challenge is to get Nubian Skin into shops. I’d love to see the range in Harrods, Selfridges or a department store like that. It would be great to see shops saying ‘actually this is something we should be offering because customers are women of colour.”

Hassan’s idea is so simple. She created a line of lingerie that has a ‘nude’ option for an array of skin tones, but for some reason this idea had never been considered before and now her products have become a revolutionary necessity.

~Shannan Rivera