After launching her Nubian Skin lingerie line in 2014, Ade Hassan has decided to explore the footwear industry with her new label, designed exclusively for women of color. The diverse brand has much to offer; from her curvy girl friendly, plus-sized tights, to the versatility of models on her website, Ade Hassan has mastered the art of representation one heel at a time. Hassan spoke with EBONY.com about her product inspo, creation process and future plans.
EBONY.com: Your brand is so refreshing and you cater to women that were forgotten for so long. Tell us about your story. Why did you start your brand?
Hassan: Thank you! Nubian Skin was born out of my own frustration of not being able to find what I wanted in shops. Nude lingerie and hosiery in my skin-tone was something that simply wasn’t available, so I decided to create it! I knew I couldn’t be the only one who felt this way.
EBONY.com: So now you have this amazing brand of lingerie and have decided to add a footwear collection. How was the creative process?
Hassan: I love shoes. I knew in my head for years, the exact type of shoes I would want in nude if I could find them! The dream coming to life was a happy moment of serendipity when I realized one of the ladies in my network was a footwear designer. We worked together on creating the shapes in my head into the technical design and then it was a matter of finding leather that matched our shades perfectly. We also added a new color – Champagne!
EBONY.com: What was the hardest part in the process of designing a shoe?
Hassan: We’ve gone with classic shoes, so the style was easy for me. Determining the heel height took a lot of thought.
EBONY.com: Why did you decide to create a Nude collection?
Hassan: Shoes were something I always wanted to do, so when I met a fantastic manufacturer we thought we’d jump on the opportunity. Shoes are another thing that is regularly made in ‘nude’, but not in a spectrum of colors.
EBONY.com: How would you recommend the shoes be styled?
Hassan: Nude goes with everything, so it’s an incredibly easy color to wear with any other color. Both shoes are classic silhouettes, so the heels look great with jeans and a cute top but also with a party or office dress. The flats are classic and subtle and can be put with just about any outfit but this spring we’re particularly loving them for work and running around town.
EBONY.com: I’ve come across Nubian Skin on Asos.com and Nordstrom.com. How has the response been from the American market?
Hassan: Incredible, we never could have predicted how much support we would receive. We were also incredibly fortunate to have ASOS and Nordstrom pick us up really early on – it means a lot to have such big names supporting your brand.
EBONY.com: While we know being your own boss is not easy, and includes some lows. The high of collaborating with Beyoncé on her formation Tour trumped them all, I am sure. How did the Beyoncé collaboration come to life?
Hassan: It definitely did – what more could you want?! We received an e-mail in one of the inboxes about the collaboration and immediately thought it was a scam, so I reached out to a few friends who work in the industry and they replied telling me that it was definitely real and to respond – so we did! It is unbelievable to have an artist like Beyoncé choose to wear Nubian Skin as the base for her costumes on the Formation Tour. Beyoncé is a global phenomenon and the fact that her team knows about our brand and have selected it is a testament to the work we’re trying to do. It is such validation to see a squad of beautiful, brown women and know that Nubian Skin has a product which is allowing them to express that diversity to perfection
What can we expect from Nubian Skin next? Can you give us an inside scoop/things you are working on?
Hassan: A lot of the feedback we’ve received so far has been about the need to include larger cups, so we’re working on a collection that will be going up to a G-cup (US I-cup) and will be out later this year. After that, we have lots of exciting ideas up our sleeves, so you’ll have to wait and see!
EBONY.com: With such beautiful designs, what is the philosophy of your brand? Who is the Nubian Skin Woman?
Hassan: Our philosophy is Empowering Women & Embracing Our Color. We want women of all ethnicities to feel included, appreciated and most of all sexy, in lingerie especially tailored for them! The Nubian Skin Woman is any woman who wants to feel comfortable in her own skin.
To learn more about Nubian Skin, visit Hassan’s website here.