For years, Chantal Carter Taylor searched for nude lingerie that made her feel flawless in her own skin — and celebrated herself as a woman of colour.
She struck out in Toronto and in Montreal. Even New York City, the "fashion mecca" of America offered only the standard beige undies.
The search became about more than finding something to wear under sheer fabric. It became a question she kept asking herself: Why aren't lingerie brands considering women of colour?
So she's created her own.
A diverse palette
"We're developing a line of bras and panties that represent the diverse colours of the world," the Toronto woman said. "I wanted to create something that was for us, by us."
Fast forward to this week and you'll find Carter Taylor in studio, directing a photo shoot that follow three women wearing bra and panty sets in warm tones of espresso, butterscotch and nutmeg.
So is Carter Taylor.
The first order of Love & Nudes will be available in May. While Carter Taylor hand dyed her underwear for years, the brand's founder and developer said she's working with women in Colombia to produce the lingerie.
"They focus on employing single mothers. I was a single mother myself so that really resonated with me."
The company paid for the first round of production through a crowdfunding campaign, which raised about $25,200.
Love & Nudes appears to be the first Canadian brand of nude lingerie marketed to women of colour, its founder said.
'Be your own beauty'
Carter Taylor said that most "nude" products are designed for white skin — a form of institutional discrimination that perpetuates the idea that lighter skin is of "higher value".
"Right down to a Band-Aid; a Band-Aid is beige and it's to blend in with European skin tone colours," she said.
She said she hopes to empower women of all skin tones through the clothing line and the social media campaign accompanying it, which will feature women of colour and their successes.
"We're all beautiful in our own way, in our own skin tone, colour, whatever that is," she said. "Just be your own beauty."