Sheila Donaldson was home in Miami getting dressed for the evening with her friend, when she suddenly grew exasperated about her inability to find a proper bra that would blend in with her skin.
Donaldson, the CEO and founder of Nudz, describes herself as a “dark chocolate covered espresso bean,” and as she aired her frustrations to her fair-skinned friend, it struck her to create her own line of intimate apparel that includes a vast variety of shades and styles.
Nudz is not the first company seeking to increase inclusivity in intimate apparel — earlier this week, Naja introduced a “Nude for All” collection that includes seven shades of undergarments. Nudz and Naja are part of an industry-wide trend in beauty and fashion, one that includes cosmetics lines like MAC that feature more diversified tints, clothing lines tailored to fit a broader range of body types and luxury shoe brands like Christian Louboutin that offer “nude” shoes in a variety of shades.
The company is campaigning using the hashtag #BanishBeige, in an attempt to redefine the concept of what nude means, similar to the efforts of Naja.
A Nudz pre-launch party in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.
On Tuesday night Donaldson debuted the line at a pre-launch party in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, showing off a strapless bra style and three different underwear offerings — the “hipster,” bikini and thong. The bras retail for $78 and the underwear for $18-22, depending on the style.
The styles are named after well-known celebrities that match the tone of the underwear, including “Lupita” for Lupita Nyong’o, “Zoe” for Zoe Saldana and “Adriana” for Adriana Lima.
“It was very important for me to recognize not just different skin tones, but also different ethnicities,” Donaldson said. “I’ve lived in different countries around the world, and I think this is an issue that woman face globally. I wanted every woman to feel inclusive and feel that we were recognizing all skin tones.”
Donaldson added that men still largely lead product development in the lingerie market, and noted that her perspective as a woman gives her an edge to develop a truly personalized line. She served as the fit model during the development phase, to ensure the products were made properly.
“I’m an average woman, an everyday woman, and I need it to fit me because then I know it will fit others,” she said. “If you start off with a model it might not fit the average woman.”
Donaldson was focused on nailing down the strapless bra first, but plans to add additional styles in the future. All of the garments will be available on the Nudz website for pre-order beginning on June 1.