Local budget retailer Ackermans has introduced a new range of nude underwear, for all skin tones, The Nude Colour Collection.

The campaign launched a few days ago, and features models of various skin tones and sizes. 

Undies are under R99.95 and seam free!

And more and more nude undies for all shapes and shades are being introduced into the market. 

I meet Gugu Nkabinde at a restaurant in Sandton. She hasn’t slept for 48 hours but her energy is on fire and focused. And it’s infectious and welcome on a late Friday afternoon.

She tells me she’s always been that kid who knew exactly what she waned to do and went for it. Several days ago was the preview launch of a project she’s been working on for a year and the response to it has already been incredible.

Read more: can we have a quick conversation about colourism?

She calls herself a creator, entrepreneur, strategist, connector and ideas jockey. And she deserves each of these descriptors. At 33 years old Gugu is launching a brand that is helping to redefine what nude actually means, and broader questions about black female identity. Because the term nude is largely still racist and exclusionary.

We’re talking colour and she says, ‘We need new names’...

Gugu Intimates is a range of underwear for black women in five shades with two bra types and two panty options. The offering will grow as Gugu does more research into exactly what SA women want from their lingerie.

I’ve already raised my hand for wireless bra alternatives. I haven’t had a chance to find out whether she already has a shade that matches my skin tone – her assistant had to leave with the samples just before I arrived and I missed her preview event – but I’m heartened by the way she’s approached the challenge.

We’re talking colour and she says, ‘We need new names’ and I get goosebumps because it immediately refers me to NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut and award-winning novel by the same name. NoViolet is the first Black woman to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for fiction for a work that explores the reinvention of self.

If we’re now able to match our foundation to our skin tones, why haven’t we been able to do the same with underwear?

Gugu talks about how for too long black women’s complexions have been described in exoticised culinary terms like caramel, honey, cappuccino, chocolate and she’s based her shade names on what beauty is in different African languages - for example Buhle (Zulu), Elewa (Swahili) and Runako (Shona). So every time you talk about the different colours, you disrupt the way our complexions are referred to. 

To rewind, Gugu tells me about where it all started and how she wants to help women feel beautiful and confident in their own skin. If we’re now able to match our foundation to our skin tones, why haven’t we been able to do the same with underwear? And not feel constrained because our underwear was the wrong colour so we couldn’t wear a certain sheer or white item of clothing.

Now we can thanks to a series of events that saw Gugu whittle 5 big ideas into one – which she calls ‘the New Naked’, resign from a coveted position at one of the top advertising agencies, travel to an underwear and textile fair in Hong Kong, find an angel investor, collaborate with owners of an SA cosmetics and salon brand and self-fund a new business from scratch.

Visit Guguintimates.com for more info.