You’re five years old getting ready for a dance recital and are tasked with purchasing a nude leotard. Excitedly, you get to the costume shop with your mom, but none of the nude pieces are a match for your skin. At dress rehearsal, the dancers of paler complexion have leotards that match perfectly, while the girls of color stand off awkwardly to the side with their tan colored leotards. At five years old, you feel left out.
You’re fourteen years old and are so excited you’ve made it to the high school dance team. For performances, every girl needs to have flesh toned stockings under their uniform. You try every drug and department store, but can’t seem to find a pair that give the illusion of bare skin. Instead, they have a shiny or “ashy” look to them. At fourteen years old, you feel like you stand out.
You’re sixteen years old and start to play around with makeup. You’re still suffering from acne, so you decide to purchase a concealer except none of the brands have one dark enough to hide your blemishes. At sixteen years old while the other girls at the makeup counter are raving about the new make up they just bought, you feel forgotten.
You’re twenty five years old and want a flesh toned bra and panty set. You try every lingerie and department store, but the only “nudes” available are beiges, and peachy pinks. At twenty five years old, you’re over it.
The lack of diversity in the marketplace has always and continues to be an ongoing issue for women of color. Every summer I look forward to purchasing new sandals as a part of my summer wardrobe. I have to have a nude pair, a black pair, as well as an assortment of various colors. However finding a flesh toned sandal to match my skin tone is always an issue. Earlier this year I came across the brand TKEES via Instagram. They caught my eye with a photo of an array of flesh toned sandals suited for all women.
I quickly followed the brand and shared the page in my group chat of girlfriends. Together we rejoiced and found our specific colors and shared those in the chat.
It’s 2018 and diversity is a hot topic right now with brands. We’ve seen Fenty Beauty with 40+ various shades of make up foundations, as well as Nubian Skin creating a lingerie line for women of color. However, these are companies created by Black women meant to be of service to Black women. Even with these victories, we are far from where we need to be when it comes to seeing representation in all spaces.
TKEES sent me my very own pair, and they are just as comfortable as they are chic. I wear them when I’m running errands, taking meetings, and everything in between. However, what I love most about them is the feeling I get when I put them on. They are so smooth against your feet and will leave you forgetting you are walking in flip flops.
I also love them because I know that they were made for me and people like me in mind. To that I say, thank you, TKEES for seeing us and filling a huge void in the marketplace for women of color. TKEES shoes are using their brand to take another step in the right direction.
*Photos courtesy of Viridiana Candelas