Love & Nude defines the colour ‘Nude’ in an increasingly diverse world.

Love & Nude
defines the colour
in an
diverse world.

Nude undergarments are an essential part of the wardrobe for many women. For all intents and purposes, purchasing an intimate should be a straightforward process for everybody. Yet, this wasn’t so– to find a skin-tone undergarment in particular– for many women, especially women of colour. Like many exasperated with the absurdity of painting a bra and panty was Chantal Carter–she fabric painted her undergarments to match her skin colour.

It felt hard and uncomfortable against her skin, but she didn’t care because she wanted that look–the coveted nude look. So why is there no nude for me? Carter asserted that no one should have to go through that rigamarole to have something to match their skin tone.

This Montreal native decided to reclaim her respect and take ownership of her beauty and individuality by launching Love & Nudes–the brand created to represent women of colour. A line of products starting with intimates, bras and panties, Love & Nudes reflects the diverse skin tones of the world. The brand is about loving “who they are as they are,” and the name says it all, which means to love–to love everybody, love, and respect other people’s nudes, and love your own nude. Whatever that tone is, there is no right or wrong skin tone and that we are beautiful just the way we are, as explained by Carter on the significance of the name Love & Nudes.
Photography Carole B Eves
Photography Arash Moallemi

The absence and misrepresentation in the fashion industry for everyday essentials for women of colour was not new to her. Carter grew up around fashion– her mom worked in the rag trade, the garment industry– was always going to sample sales before anybody knew what samples were. So she pretty much knew that she wanted to be, first a buyer and then a stylist from a young age. Later found her way of becoming a stylist in Toronto. That is when she saw whenever a dark model would come in for photoshoots; they didn’t have any nude undergarments of the expected standards, unlike their fair-skin counterparts did. From her professional experience in the fashion and beauty industry for over a decade– as a fashion editor, wardrobe stylist, and product developer–she noticed that the industry was missing the consideration for women of colour. Her background in fashion and seeing what was missing inspired Carter to redefine what the nude meant.

Another integral reason why Love & Nudes is imperative to the founder is that she discovered that skin bleaching was a ten billion-dollar global industry earlier on while doing her research. “People of colour, Black people, South Asian, and Asian bleached their skin to become lighter, which hurt me. The long problematic history of the reality of skin bleaching became my WHY for starting the brand,” says Carter, and it became more than just about wearing fashion the way she wanted. “Lot of people were not feeling good in the skin they were in; they felt like they had to go on with societal norms about what beauty is–I wanted to challenge that,” She said. “Beauty isn’t only about light skin. It is hard when people of colour don’t see products representing them or what they look like–something even as simple as a band-aid is usually always beige, and that is only for white skin, not for everybody,” she says. “So that became my WHY; because NO, we have to love ourselves as we are.”

Brand’s lingerie makers at their fair wage facility in South America.   |  Image @tychonxcarter

What does the colour nude mean? “Nude is naked.” That is what it means to the founder, as naked as one can be. She explained that the nude is the wearer’s skin tone, and everybody has a different shade of nude. “What interested me when I was doing my research earlier on was to find out that ninety percent of women-of-colour defined nude as colour tan, beige, peach,” shares Carter. The fact fascinated her that years of marketing nude as beige or peach has convinced the society to assume that that is the truth.” But, no, that is not the whole part of the picture!”
She expresses the importance of having inclusive lingerie– to feel good about oneself, not to be excluded and not to have beauty to be dictated or to have it only the one way, because it is not. It became her mission–through fashion– to create a line of products that represent the forgotten women, the women of colour because she knows what it feels like to be excluded. The brand Love & Nude is more than just a line of products. It is a vessel for self-love, something that she says in her tagline, “own your tone.” “What that means is to own your story, own your voice and own your skin tone colour, whatever that is. Our skin tone is what makes us all individuals, a special unique individual,” explains Carter. Why does fashion have a part to play in racial equality? “Many of us use fashion to express our individuality. If there is not a level playing field to express our individuality, there is something wrong,” she says. Two-thirds of the world’s population have a darker skin tone, and there are no products that look like them–and she questions the fact.
Diversity, inclusivity and equality in Toronto and globally is the same everywhere, according to her observations. She reminisces about her days as a stylist, which she describes as being very cliquey. Only a specific group of people got most of the work, and none looked like her. It was an intimidating experience: “But you know what, it is a great time to forge our own opportunities and make our ways, and tell our own stories. We don’t have to succumb to the status quo,” she added.
Photography Nothing Design Studio
The industry has seen some breakthroughs in the last few years. The founder agrees and commented that since the “George Floyd Murder” people are talking about racial injustice, every commercial she sees now has people of colour in it. “I was flabbergasted the other day to see the commercial for McDonald’s– it was all people of colour. Usually, they have one person of colour thrown in as a token. However, this time it was Asian and two Black Women, and I had to sit down.” She thinks that society is moving in a progressive direction (and she is hopeful) but still cautious about what will happen two years or five years down the road. As a Black Woman, she says they have been burned so many times, so she cautiously hopes this time is different. Meanwhile, creativity keeps Carter inspired to move forward; the passion for growth-personal growth. “I want to be the best version of myself, and that is through learning, and I am learning through my business, and it is showing me who I am personally, and professionally –that inspires me personally and professionally.”

“Own Your Tone” with Love & Nudes: 


Social Media: @loveandnude