2017 has been in regards to making fashion a bit more accessible, especially for African-American women, as it should be. With Christian Louboutin’s shade inclusive nude heel line, Kim Kardashian West’s contour kit for all different skin tones and Lancome Paris’ larger range of foundations for every skin color, innovations have continued to expand in order to give everyone some well-deserved options.
This story begins with a reunion for the 2007 class of Florida A&M University’sDelta Sigma Theta sorority. This group of girls gets together every five years and for their latest reunion they decided to go to Costa Rica.
This is where they decided on the idea for #MelaninIllustrated, a Sports Illustrated-inspired photo shoot that features all of the women wearing nude bathing suits that best match their individual skin color.
MELANIN ILLUSTRATED. This is what 10 years of serving looks like.|| #thisistite || 📸 @javmereb . @jardanp @melissarbutler @drbrit_fit @jacqhay @moecaramel @alovebyrd @villivix @miss_smoot @ltphd_ @queennzinga @typrice10 @vandoline @jinicha_14 @sham_wowwww @wij21 @mac2point0 @madenkali @nikkibooneboone @sophib33 @jsue34 @bthenor @shardia_24
It took about four months for each of the women to actual find a nude bathing suit that matched their skin color and the successful lines included Kenneth Cole, Missguided, Forever 21, Hot Miami Styles and TopShop.
Planning the actual shoot was a lot of work and the girls actually got posing advice from L.A. Rams cheerleader Shardia Washington. The sisters decided that they didn’t want to have that typical beach photo shoot where the models roll around in the sand and caught in “candid” positions, and instead wanted to look at the camera dead-on to show their confidence.
Jardan Doneghy, one of the sisters, said, “The media has a way of telling us how beauty should be. We say beauty is being confident. Knowing that you are good enough — especially our African American sisters who may sometimes feel overlooked or underrepresented — that is beautiful in itself.”
While they did put a lot of planning into the photos, they did not expect the snaps to go viral.
“We had no idea that it was going to go viral. But the fact that it did is proof that it is uncommon to see such a large group of real women — mothers, doctors, lawyers, business owners, and educated black women — saying, ‘This is what beauty is.'”
These girls a rocking it, we hope to see another photo shoot in the future… Or maybe even a magazine. Let’s get #MelaninIllustrated to print, people.