Discussing the Issue of Diversity in Italian Beauty

Rihanna’s famed Fenty Beauty line landed on Milanese store shelves earlier this year, the Italian launch of which made waves in the city. Eager fans waited outside Sephora with bated breath on that airy April night, not only for the music icon herself who was set to make an appearance, but because the impassioned chatter of the makeup line’s inclusivity had been making the rounds. Beauty bloggers and Instagram giants galore have been singing Fenty’s praises since its inception, and the brand’s Italian introduction is likely to further champion diversity in the country’s beauty sector.

Italy’s makeup industry may not be as well-known as that of its fashion, nonetheless it is a small but growing force, with Kiko Milano being one of their more notable brands. In terms of makeup diversity, however, Italy is only just beginning to pick up steam. At the moment, Milanese makeup brands seem to fall short when it comes to catering to the diversity of deep skin tones, usually only providing one or two shades in this area, compared to the numerous others that would instead fit whiter skin.

“My personal experience with makeup diversity in Milan is that there isn’t any! – I’m kidding, there is, but much less than back in the States as you can imagine,” says Tia Taylor, an American Youtuber who has just started her career working in the editorial content and social media office of Gucci in Milan. “When I arrived four years ago, it was a real struggle to find my foundation shade. Even if Sephora had my shade displayed as a tester, often that shade would be out of stock. If I was lucky enough to find my shade in stock it would be the last bottle, and when I ran out I would have to start my search all over again.”

“Most girls just have one foundation, from one brand with a specific formula they like, that could never be me in Milan. Not only was in-store shade range and selection limited, but oftentimes you could only order lighter shades online – darker shades weren’t available,” Tia laments, this experience being, for her, a stark difference to how things were back at home in America. “Even living in a relatively un-diverse state, Connecticut, I always found the products that I needed and wanted, and if they were out of stock I could order them.”

Fortunately, The Italian makeup scene is slowly but surely beginning to change; most brands today are realising that minorities are a market and have started to include a wider range of shades in their collections. “Nowadays, diversity is trendy, and more and more brands are coming to Italy with extended shade ranges – like Fenty Beauty, for example – and Kiko Milano and Deborah Milano had already made some steps towards diversity previously,” says Tia. “I think the arrival of a brand like Fenty in their space could only give Italian brands more pressure and incentive to improve in terms of diversity and selection. Italy is much more diverse than people imagine, and products being sold here should definitely reflect that.”

Tweet us your thoughts on this feature @DebutMagUK!

Words by Sabrina Shahnaz

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