Thankfully, more and more fashion and beauty brands are embracing black women of all shades. Sure, you have numerous hair care companies to keep your kinky curls looking their luscious best and Rihanna has you fully covered with her all-inclusive Fenty line of beauty products, but what about fashion—specifically shoes?
If black women are aware of anything within the fashion and beauty space, it's that all things are not created equal, especially when it comes to nudes. What's nude on a woman of a different race, a biracial woman or black women on the lighter end of the color spectrum, is not nude for a WOC with a deep ebony complexion. Luckily, one woman and her new brand of nude shoes are changing the landscape one pair of shoes at a time.
Meet Kahmune, a U.K shoe brand founded by Jamela Acheampong that has shoes that represent the entire color spectrum for WOC. The shoes retail between $200-$250 and are available in four styles: a pump, sandal, flat and a mule. The collection offers 10 different shades from fair to deep, and each shade is named after a city, such as Juba, Rio, Bogota, Goa, and Enugu.
xoNecole caught up with Jamela Acheampong, who opened up about her innovative shoe line, how Kahmune, what the future holds for the brand and more!
What made you want to create Kahmune?
Jamela Acheampong: I've always been a pretty tenacious female - aggressive, stubborn, driven, all things others have chosen to call me over the years. When I was on Instagram one night back in 2016, I saw a "nude" themed outfit I wanted to mimic but quickly realized purchasing the same products I saw would result in it simply being a tan outfit on me, not a skin-tone one. There were so few options for my dark complexion and I found myself having to search "nude for dark skin," "black girl nude," and other ridiculous iterations to find products it was clear were not available in my shade. I decided in that moment not to wait around and hope someone else would recognize the problem but to fix it myself. That's how Kahmune was born!
"I decided in that moment not to wait around and hope someone else would recognize the problem, but to fix it myself."
When you initially launched Kahmune, what did you hope the response would be?
I think in the beginning I just wanted people to get it - to understand where I was coming from and to be just as passionate as I was about filling the gap in the market. I knew there were a lot of women out there, particularly women of color, that would resonate with the brand's mission, but I also wanted women in general, of all skin-tones, to take a second and think about the term "nude."
Why does a word that's intended to imply naked have a designated shade? How come only a fraction of women out there have skin tones that match said shade? Why hasn't this been an issue that's been tackled already? Do we not all deserve to have our skin tones acknowledged?
It's been great to see comments on social media and get emails like, "I never realised this but so true" or "I've been saying this for years." It's a concept that seems so simple to me. If the beauty and fashion industries are making skin tone accessories then they should be making options for all skin tones, no? I'm humbled that the brand was so well-received, and the response was so positive. Women want true nudes!
Are there any future plans in the works to expand your product range to include different shoe designs?
Yes, of course! If I had it my way, I'd already be offering 10-15 designs but I recognize that I have to start small. We currently offer four styles. I will be introducing one more style, a suede slide, this spring. The pump is currently available in two heel heights, and I hope to introduce a third more work friendly one this spring. At the moment, all styles can be pre-ordered for up to 30% off as I am currently crowdfunding to raise funds for the next round of production. Those who order the heeled sandals will have the power to decide what it looks like at the end of the campaign. As much as this is my brand, I think it's important to listen to my customers and I make a note of all of the feedback I receive regarding designs.
Additionally, I'm offering limited edition leather credit card holders and tote bags available exclusively through the campaign. What woman doesn't love a good bag to go with her shoes? The campaign runs until May 3 and we hope to start shipping out orders end of May/Early June. (Those interested can reserve their pair at bit.ly/KahmuneDiscounts.)
What can we expect from Kahmune throughout the rest of 2018 and beyond?
2018 will be the year of Kahmune In Real Life. What I mean by that is I want to give as many members of "The Kahmunity" as possible the opportunity to see, try, and match the shoes in person. I recently returned to the U.S. to host a series of launch parties for the brand and will be spending the remainder of 2018 here working on spreading the word about our nudes. We completed a successful launch in New York City and have plans for Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Atlanta. Always open for suggestions for new cities as well! I also hope to launch our first pop-up shops this year and am very much looking forward to introducing some new styles for the fall. I'm starting with shoes for now but who knows what products I'll introduce in the future! I'm not limiting myself to anything. If we hit our crowdfunding goal, I plan on introducing limited edition bodysuits. If those go over well, they may become something we offer all year round. I want Kahmune to grow to become the number one destination for skin tone garments and accessories for ALL women, regardless of skin tone or body type. Dark or Fair, it's time we all had the opportunity to celebrate our skin tones and it's my hope that women all over the globe will support Kahmune so that we can make it happen.
"I want Kahmune to grow to become the number one destination for skin tone garments and accessories for ALL women, regardless of skin tone or body type."
We are totally down for this representation of #BlackGirlMagic and can't wait to fill our closets with some nude shoes that perfectly enhance our melanin!