Volunteer writer, Kes Browne, talks to Label about people of colour within the industry and why representation matters!
On the 8th September 2017, Fenty Beauty took stores nationwide by storm. What was unique about this brand? Well not only was it launched by the Queen of R&B, Rihanna herself, but it was a truly inclusive beauty range with a never-ending range of different foundation shades! Yep, that’s right from the lightest shade 100, to the darkest shade 490, Fenty’s Launch was ground-breaking and revolutionised the foundation game. Not only does Fenty’s shades cater for extremely fair skin, it also caters for individuals with albinism and for People of Colour. Hurray! Rihanna also launched Killawatt highlighters, Cosmic Lip Glitter, and Shimmer Skinsticks that glow so bright you’ll be shining brighter than the stars.
Rihanna has not hesitated to comment that Fenty Beauty was created with a vision, and that vision was that people “everywhere would be included.” The beauty range’s launch highlights that previously, the majority of make-up brands available on the high-street had a ‘narrow vision’ with a limited range of shades that specifically did not cater for people of colour. When looking at other beauty branches and their limited Eurocentric range of shades, it highlights how necessary inclusivity is when it comes to makeup so that people feel represented within the beauty industry. A consistent lack of darker shades within makeup brands and primary distribution of euro-centric shades is damaging as beauty does not just come in the shade ‘beige’ and should not be considered the default. Beauty comes in all SHADES and sizes.
Previously, make-up brands have defended why their foundation range is not inclusive by claiming that darker shades won’t sell which is complete rubbish! Rihanna’s diverse range of 40 shades are selling out like crazy, and Make-Up Artist Benjamin Puckey’s legendary Instagram post showing that all of Fenty Beauty’s darker shades were sold out highlights how claims by other make-up brands were just ludicrous excuses. Other lines were soon to follow suit, Yves Saint Laurent, Kylie Cosmetics, and Tarte to name a few, which is great, but Rihanna was far ahead of the game. And still, Fenty Beauty is the only make-up range with such a high number and diverse range of shades, highlighting how diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Why? You may ask? Because make-up’s accessibility should not be limited to a specific race, no one should have to struggle when it comes to finding the right beauty products for their shade. Beauty companies, can and need to make products that POC can use and Fenty Beauty demonstrates that it is possible. The world is a cosmopolitan cocktail and the beauty industry should reflect this. This ‘new generation of beauty’ is just beginning and the possibilities are endless.
** You can buy Fenty Beauty in the U.K. at Harvey Nicholls.
Wonderful illustration by Lisa Remy