Chantal is a Chic Confidential reader and badass boss and owner of Love & Nudes. I came across her brand while trying to find the perfect nude bra. Does that even exist?!
YES. Yes, it does.
Not only does the perfect nude bra exist, but Love & Nudes is a Black-owned business! The second I saw this, I messaged Chantal, not knowing she was already a Chic Confidential reader. I read her story on her website, and immediately knew I wanted to bring her on the blog.
Guyssss, do you know how hard it is to find a perfectly matching nude bra as a person of colour? I found one from Love & Nudes, and really couldn’t be happier.
Before I get on with the interview with Chantal, I want you to know that I’ll be featuring/interviewing LOTS more Black-owned businesses on The Chic Confidential. I want this platform to be inclusive. So, if you know any Black-owned businesses, please drop them in the comments!
Okay, without further ado, please welcome Chantal Carter.
Introduce yourself to The Chic Confidential community – tell us your story.
My name is Chantal and I’m the Founder of Love & Nudes, a skin tone intimates line representing the diverse skin tone colours of the world! Nude for Black women, women of colour, nude for all women!
I was born and raised in Montreal and now live in Toronto. I got my love of fashion from my Mom growing up in Montreal…she was always so chic and she also worked in the rag trade, which was a nickname for the garment industry. I knew from a very young age that I too wanted to work in fashion and I did in a variety of ways – as a fashion editor, wardrobe stylist and in product development.
However, I was never completely satisfied…I felt something was missing, I needed something that meant more than working with stylish clothes. Love & Nudes is just that for me, a social cause to inspire women to love their skin and their uniqueness, combined with fashion.
Why did you create Love & Nudes?
While I worked as a wardrobe stylist in fashion I was motivated by the glaring absence and misrepresentation of everyday products for women of colour. Nude was only defined as beige in the fashion and beauty industries. I knew this wasn’t true, but it seemed like it was just accepted as fact because no one was making fashion based on darker skin tone colours.
I saw how black and dark-skinned models didn’t have nude undergarments they were expected to have for photoshoots! I too longed to wear my own nude in undergarments and clothing, to wear fashion without compromise. In order for me to achieve the looks I wanted, I had to paint a bra and panty to match in my own skin tone colour. I thought, no one should have to go through this! So I developed Love & Nudes a line of nude wire-free bras and panties with love for my melanin sisters. I wanted them to know that they mattered and they are valid regardless of their skin colour. I am proud to say that we are the 1st in Canada to produce a diverse nude intimates line that comes in 4 skin tone colours.
Let’s talk about what’s going on with the Black Lives Matter movement. What’s it like to be a Black creator right now?
Right now I am grateful for the attention and support that my business has seen. I’m proud of the products I created and the movement is part of love and acceptance of yourselves and others skin tone. I always knew representation matters and my brand has been challenging the fashion industry’s definition of nude, which is exclusively beige. However to be honest I have wonder how long it will last. It is hard to swallow that the attention came due to George Floyd’s death. It’s really difficult because I feel like I am fighting for my life and my son’s life, we are not a trend that will just blow over in a week or so. We have to keep on living and we want to live in a better world, where we are accepted for who we are and have the same opportunities. It’s our human right!
What kind of message do you want to send out in regards to BLM?
Support must continue, it’s vital for people to spend with Black businesses regularly, to help overcome systemic racism. In this COVID pandemic, Black businesses are especially vulnerable. When many people consciously spend with Black-owned businesses in lieu of spending with only big brands, it will spread the economic wealth and close the gap between white and black communities. This will also hold larger businesses accountable to hire more Black people and a diverse workforce. I believe this will allow our society to thrive. If we all had the same opportunities our society would benefit exponentially with new ideas, innovation, creativity, and economically. Hopefully one day in the future there will no longer need to be a BLM movement.
What types of challenges do you find you’re facing as a Black entrepreneur?
When an investor told me that the 4 skin tone colours I was producing would be too much for a retailer to carry, it stung. I felt like I was told that I didn’t matter. This when I saw how challenging it is to be a Black entrepreneur. I read a business article that said of the thousands of investment deals between 2014 to 2019, Black women founders raised next to nothing. I’ve also been told stories by other Black founders who felt like they had to bring a white person with them to get their foot in the door or to be taken seriously, so this article was no surprise for me. Sometimes your ideas and your talents are not taken seriously until a white person has a similar idea and this must change! Thankfully I don’t let that stop me and it is not something I think about everyday.
Who are some other boss babes you look up to/follow?
My biggest inspiration and boss babe is a former politician and MP Celina Ceaser-Chavannes @iamcelinacc who I am so in love with. She is a strong and BEAUTIFUL black woman who stands up for the Black community and fairness for all people. She is willing to stand alone for her beliefs, even when it isn’t the popular thing to do. She struggles with mental illness, as I do, and had the courage to speak about it openly. She made me feel less alone and less ashamed for my struggles with this. The world needs more people like her in our societies. I know she is going to even bigger places and will help to make things better for the Black community, people of colour and ultimately most people. Our voices need to be amplified and she is just the person for that. When she wore her hair in cornrows at Parliament Hill I got down on my knees and thanked God for her, as I know that could not have been easy to do and argue about amongst a majority of older white male politicians.
Women can be insecure about their bodies. I’ve always hated my stretch marks, for instance. (I’ve now grown to love them). Have you ever been insecure/self-conscious about your body. If so, how did you overcome that?
I’m still a work in progress lol! I have experienced how many of us women have a distorted view of ourselves…we see things that are not really there or more exaggerated than it is. What has helped me is to stop picking my features apart and criticizing them because these features do not paint the picture of who I am and what I look like. I am a whole person a whole being and beauty comes from inside me which starts with how I think and carry myself. I am practicing to be mindful about how I speak to myself, without negativity and judgment and I celebrate things that I love about me. This makes me feel healthier, grateful, and more beautiful.
What is your goal for Love & Nudes?
My goal is to help motivate Black women, women of colour to love and celebrate themselves as they are. Not to try to look like or be like someone else. And of course, to wear fashion anyway we want to without limitations! When we have our own nude tone it allows for more style options with ease and confidence.
I started a series called #OwnYourTone, as a celebration of who we are, and to share our experience as Black women and women of colour. It’s about owning our voice, our story (good, bad, and ugly) and cherishing your skin tone whatever the shade! Typically in the media and advertising we aren’t celebrated, nor are we visible. I created this to show we are visible and we are important regardless of what mainstream media depicts. I want to encourage and inspire women to see what’s possible regardless of our experiences and our skin tone. We post this on our website and social media.
One last question – define “beauty” in your own words. What does it mean to you?
Beauty is inner peace and joy. It is being grateful, learning who you are, and working on growing and evolving everyday. This radiates beauty in someone all around.
Where can everyone find you? Drop your social handles.
- Website: www.loveandnudes.com
- IG: @loveandnudes
- Facebook @loveandnudes
- Twitter @loveandnudes_
Thank you for taking the time to read about my business and me and please follow and stay social and connected!
Guys, check out Love & Nudes, follow Chantal, read her story, and support her business! Her story is truly amazing and inspiring.
Personally, I LOVE the bra and undies!! They are super comfy, and make me feel very sexy 😉
Thanks so much Chantal for coming on the blog! And again, please leave any Black-owned businesses in the comments.
++ If you enjoyed this post, check out How to be a Boss Babe.
++ Oh, and check out Media & Body Image.
Thanks to my darling fiancée for capturing these photos.