Whitney Bracey launched dance apparel company Mahogany Blues for dancers of color in March of 2015.
Bracey, who was previously making swimwear, became inspired to make more inclusive nude options for dancers when her friend Takiya Wallace, founder of Brown Girls Do Ballet, informed her that there were no nudes available for people of color in the dance industry.
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“Most dancers of color have to dye their leotards a few times to get the right color,” Bracey explained to Buzzfeed. “To come up with our nudes, I printed out a color card and tried to match the skin tones of friends, coworkers and strangers,” she said.
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Currently, Bracey makes all of the leotards by hand, but plans to start using a factory as demand for her dancewear has grown. She is also planning to add two additional shades of nude to the current existing four shades that the apparel company offers.
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