Before I even launched Nubian Skin, I spent about a year and a half perfecting the colors you see today. In the spring and summer of 2013 I spent a lot of time visiting make-up counters, as many as I could that had good offerings for women with darker skin.
So I would speak to the make-up artists and ask them what colors are popular for women with darker skin trying to get a broad spectrum of colors and then at the end of the summer I selected skin tone Pantone colors that matched the make-up colors I had been working with.
Testing Foundation shades to try & find perfect skin tones
And then I tried to match the skin tone Pantone colors to fabrics Pantone colors.
So that was the first stage of the exercise. By autumn of 2013 I had an initial set of color samples. When I started putting it against peoples’ actual skin colors I realise that they just didn’t work.
So then it became a process of essentially creating the colors, so looking at the colors that I had, and I knew, in order for this to work well with skin it’s going to need to be ‘a bit deeper’ it’s gonna need a ‘little bit more red’ or a bit ‘more yellow’ or it needs to be ‘warmer’.
Spray painting mannequin legs to Nubian Skin Colors
So that was a lot of back-and-forth with factories and dye houses to get those colors right. I wasn’t actually able to finalise those colors and say I am happy with these until around June 2014. So at that point it had been over a year since the beginning of working on the colors. But by that summer I finally had four colors that I was really really happy with. At least for the bras!
Tights for a different matter they were little bit more complicated because they are sheer.
Nubian Skin Sheer Tights
So it really came down to the last two colors which I just couldn’t get quite right.
And I finally got those by literally boiling pots of tea and coffee in various strengths trying to get the color right. When I finally got them I sort of said, okay these work and I tested them on friends and I tested them on myself and I sent them to the factory and said “please match this”.
Boiling tea & coffee to dye fabric, creating colors from scratch
I’m often asked about the color names for the Nubian Skin skin tones and that was just really fun for me, I’d sort of be day dreaming, lying in bed and get a jolt, and think “ooh caramel, that sounds like a good color!” Or “ooh cinnamon, yes that works!”
So that was just a really fun process. Our colors are Berry, Cinnamon, Caramel and Café au Lait. Berry is the darkest color and that is inspired by the saying ‘the darker the berry the sweeter the juice’.
Cinnamon is the color I wear and I just thought It just looks like cinnamon, so that was that. Similarly with caramel and café au lait, they were just fun things and fun colors that I thought matched the tones that I had created.