Nude Barre fights colorism in fashion industry by offering diverse hosiery for all

After years of struggling as a professional dancer trying to find tights that matched her skin tone, Erin Carpenter took matters into her own hands.
A little over a decade ago, the former New York Knicks dancer founded Nude Barre, a bodywear and hosiery company that sells products in 12 "nude" shades.
Today, the thriving label offers bralettes, lingerie, bikinis, girls' shorts, camisoles, no-show socks, fishnet stockings and opaque tights.
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"I spent hours dying my tights and 'pancaken' my shoes [applying pancake primer to shoes with a sponge to mattify them and change their color], and had many friends and co-workers do the same to create the Meet the industry demand for nude underwear," Carpenter told Good Morning America.
"I founded Nude Barre to confront colorism head-on and to help ease the emotional and physical labor of this process for all people, dancers and non-dancers alike."
PHOTO: Hosiery company Nude Barre is on a mission to challenge colorism in the fashion industry. Brand founder Erin Carpenter tells GMA about her journey to success. (Courtesy of Nude Barre)
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To develop Nude Barre's comprehensive color palette, Carpenter conducted endless surveys, comparing colors to foundation shades and doing many color tests.
Each shade's name was also created on purpose, based on how skin tones tend to span a spectrum like the light of day, ultimately leading to names like '7AM' and '6PM'.
The brand's offerings are photographed on models with a wide range of different body types and complexions.
"Nude Barre's mission is to fight colorism in the fashion industry and provide authentic, true representation for people of all shades," said Carpenter. "For decades, the representation of skin tones was limited to people with lighter skin tones, and Nude Barre is here to change that."
Erin Carpenter is the founder and CEO of bodywear and hosiery line Nude Barre - a company on a mission to fight colorism in the fashion industry and provide authentic, true representation for people of all shades. (Courtesy of Erin Carpenter)
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Today, Nude Barre's best-selling fishnet stockings have been worn by everyone from Doja Cat and Lizzo to Laverne Cox and Serena Williams.
Williams was such a fan of the brand that she decided to invest in it. Carpenter said the company has been able to attract high-profile investors like the tennis star because they also value representation.
"Some of our investors are clients or, like me, have had personal trouble finding confidants in their shadow," Carpenter said. "So you identify with the problem that we solve personally and socially."
While Nude Barre has enjoyed much success, the company's victories have not been without some challenges. Carpenter said she sometimes meets with manufacturers who are surprised to see a young woman at the helm of a company and feel they don't take her seriously.
"Financing was very difficult to come by as a woman," Carpenter said. “The stats on female founders receiving [venture capital] funding are bad, and for black women, the stats are terrible. Although I was very fortunate to have great investors, it wasn't easy and it took a long time to happen."
MORE: Rihanna's Savage X Fenty show was an extravaganza packed with inclusion and diversity
Hosiery company Nude Barre is dedicated to challenging colorism in the fashion industry. Brand founder Erin Carpenter tells GMA about her journey to success. (Courtesy of Nude Barre)
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Still, their persistence paid off: Carpenter shared that Nude Barre has since expanded its reach, ending up in well-known department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Macy's.
She found that the brand has been able to continue to thrive because it offers one of the broadest color palettes in intimates and stockings.
"Nude barre is similar to athleisure for your underwear," she said. "It's durable enough for athletes, yet comfortable and stylish for everyday wear."
"I hope Nude Barre's biggest takeaway is how important representation is - that we're all different, special people, and that's beautiful. We should celebrate our individuality," she added.
"My dream is that one day there will be no more nudes that are only portrayed as beige. Act is individual and personal. My dream is that my brown daughters always have products that represent them and that they don't feel bothered by questioning their beauty."
Nude Barre fights colorism in the fashion industry by offering a variety of hosiery for everyone that originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

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