(Fashion)

These Black-Owned Lingerie Brands Are Redefining "Nude"

Love, Vera

For many women, their intimates drawer is likely filled with a mix of comfortable cotton briefs, lacy thongs, and a few pieces that fall somewhere in between. And while brands like Victoria's Secret have long ruled the underwear drawers of young adult women for the better half of the last two decades, it's high time we turn our attention elsewhere — and these Black-owned lingerie and intimates brands are the ones rising to the challenge.

Why intentionally seek out and buy from a Black-owned lingerie business? In addition to putting more money in the hands of Black women, these businesses often account for problems that we've accepted as gospel. For one, we've been conditioned, through various Eurocentric marketing ploys and product lines that run the gamut from nail polish to stockings, that "nude" falls somewhere between beige-leaning peach and a light caramel. That false equivalency was true when designer Naeem Khan inaccurately described the champagne-colored gown he dressed Michelle Obama in for a 2010 state dinner as "sterling-silver sequin, abstract floral, nude strapless gown," and it has continued to be true for countless brands that continue to consistently equate every synonym for "beige" with "flesh-toned." But whose flesh, exactly?

Erin Carpenter, the founder and CEO of lingerie brand Nude Barre, says that she and her Black counterparts spent hours dying and spray-painting tights and ballet shoes throughout her 15-year dance career. Her line, which began as hosiery in 2009, has since grown to include bralettes, seamless thongs, fishnets, and both footed and convertible opaque tights, available in 12 different shades of "nude."

Even if finding a thong in your preferred shade of nude isn't an issue, buying from a Black women — whether or not we're in the middle of a revolution — helps Black businesses stay afloat in an industry that they're often in the shadows of.

From racy lingerie to everyday underthings, the next few brands have a bit of everything and are just a small representation of the many inclusive labels out there. Supporting these Black-founded businesses is not just fun, but also an act of support for the Black community.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Black-Owned Lingerie Brands: Anya Lust

Anya Lust is a dream destination for luxury lingerie. The New York-based boutique selects passionate designers to carry and ships its extensively curated collection to more than 200 countries. In a January interview with Medium, founder Krystle Kotara shared the brand's origin, explaining that lingerie shopping — an experience that should feel sensual and empowering — bored her. "All of the models and the underwear looked the same — bland and boring," she told Medium. "That’s how the idea of Anya Lust was born." A quick perusal of the shop's site will prove her mission is accomplished with a slew of titillating selections like this set from Colette & Sebastian.

Black-Owned Lingerie Brands: Love, Vera

Love, Vera

At its core, Love, Vera is an intimates brand that celebrates Black women, Black entrepreneurship, and Black cultural influence. According to its brand mission, "Black women make things cool, but remain outsiders to leadership and business opportunities in fashion. Love, Vera is going to change that." In addition to fostering Black talent, the brand also prioritizes size inclusivity with its Curvy collection. Find inspiration in the brand's lookbooks — for example pairing a lacy bodysuit with a leather mini skirt or frill-trimmed bustier with a work trouser.

Black-Owned Lingerie Brands: Nubian Skin

Founded in 2014, Nubian Skin's creator Ade Hassan set out to edit a collection of lingerie and hosiery for women of color — an overlooked idea at the time. "It was born out of my own frustration, constantly going into places wanting a nude bra or tights that matched my color," the Nigerian designer and founder shared on the podcast Side Hustle Pro. Now, the brand has several collections like Cocoa, a sporty everyday line with both men's and women's offerings starting at just $23 for its high-rise briefs. Its Naked collection entails smooth microfiber fabric with raw cut edges for seamless shapewear.

Black-Owned Lingerie Brands: Nude Barre

The brand's CEO and founder, Erin Carpenter, was deeply rooted in performance arts since childhood when she first had trouble finding hosiery that matched her skin tone. In college, she majored in ballet and minored in business management, which proved to be the perfect pairing for her future brand. After launching Nude Barre in 2009, Carpenter has expanded the hosiery line to include bralettes, seamless thongs, fishnets, and footed and convertible opaque tights, all in 12 "True Nude" shades. To shop, find your shade with the brand's Nudemeter quiz online or order its What's Your Color fabric swatches to get the perfect match for just $6.