Written by Stuart Foxman

One day, Nicole Lucas-Richardson was looking to buy a cute date dress in her skin tone. It was hard to find the right one, even in one of the world’s most multicultural cities.

The experience wasn’t the first time. “I was getting super frustrated that I couldn’t find things I wanted,” says Lucas-Richardson, who works as a tech strategist in the telecommunications field.

Her dilemma is common for women of colour, says Lucas-Richardson. It stems from what’s known as shadism or colourism. Do you want to find a fashion or makeup in a nude or flesh tone? It depends how you define “nude” or “flesh”.

Dictionairies used to describe that shade as pinkish or beige, i.e. approximating the skin colour of white person. That has changed, but in some cases only recently. It was just in 2015 that Merriam-Webster (after some public pressure) re-defined “nude”, as in nude pantyhose or nude lipstick, as having a colour that matches the wearer’s skin.

Lucas-Richardson says that she and many people she knows feel let down by the current marketplace. So she decided to create her own business – an online platform where she curates fashion selections.

“We offer nude shades for people of all colours,” she says.

Her company is called Good–form, and the first-time Toronto entrepreneur says it’s an inclusive take on fashion (good–form.com).

Right now, she says, if you search “nude clothing” online, it’s more than likely that you’ll find something closer to a white skin tone. Lucas-Richardson scours fashion on Instagram to pick out a wider variety of choices that would appeal to women of colour.

That’s what ends up posted on Good–form. Having the images of clothing and accessories collected in one place saves shoppers considerable search time. Users can then make purchases directly from the vendor. Lucas-Richardson says her model is to get paid as a referring service, i.e. clicks that result in a sale.

She also envisions having vendor relationships, where boutiques house items on her site that fit Good–Form’s colour-matching criteria. The market is large, and Lucas-Richardson says “this is a group that should be prioritized”.

She says that Good–Form is dedicated to providing an opportunity for everyone to find their “true nude”. That means a shade, colour, texture or look that matches you, from the outside in.

Beyond what’s featured on the digital platform, Lucas-Richardson says that Good–Form is an ideology for what she calls self-awareness, self-love and self-exaltation.

Her site was just getting off the ground in spring 2019. For now, she says Good–Form is more of a gathering place. “We’re starting to build a social media community. We want to develop a reputation as the go-to place for inspiration and sourcing.”

 Photo credit Zlatko CetinicImages Made Real