The naked truth here is not pretty: fashion has a diversity problem, and the use of the word "nude" as it pertains to color palettes is just one example. For far too long, the footwear market has offered a restrictive interpretation of the shade as being very light, and very beige — excluding a tremendous number of female shoppers while simultaneously favoring one skin tone over all others. When it comes to flesh-colored footwear, Christian Louboutin
was among the first to address this issue
with a debut collection he hoped would provide more options for women looking to match their stilettos to their skin tones. It's a category Louboutin has continued to develop and expand since its 2013 launch, and as the designer makes strides towards a more inclusive industry, a few companies have taken to following in his red-bottomed footsteps. There are also independent designers like Rebecca Allen
and Jeneba Barrie
who have channeled their personal struggles of finding the right flesh-toned shades into the launch of their own shoe brands. The necessity of this work does more than just expose the problem — it's revolutionizing how we use the word "nude" in fashion.