Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Who Remembers Fashion Fair?! My First Foray Into Make-up....

How many of you ladies remember Fashion Fair? Even if you never actually used it, as a black woman the picture above must conjure up some memories no?! Circa 1973 -2008?? If not you, it might have been your mum, an aunty, an elder sister or another older black woman... but somewhere somehow as a black girl you must have come across Fashion Fair.

Fashion Fair is my very first memory of make-up! I remember my mum and ALL my 'aunties' used Fashion Fair back in the day and so for me, when I started using make-up as a teen and even into my early 20's, the brand that I naturally reached out for was Fashion Fair! Back then, it was THE brand of cosmetics for women of colour... you could walk into any top department store and you would see that beautiful pink Fashion Fair counter with all those glamorous looking beautiful black women 'made over' to perfection.

I really don't  remember when I made the switch and started using the current more popular brands such as MAC, but somehow Fashion Fair slowly disappeared from view and from our minds. It's kind of sad really because Fashion Fair was such a pioneer for black women and cosmetics and such a prominent part of our culture as black women. So what happened?

With new sexy branding and a wider range of products, is it too late for Fashion Fair to reclaim it's place as the cosmetics brand of choice for black women? Would you use Fashion Fair?

Here's a little history on Fashion Fair cosmetics taken from the Fashion Fair website:

''The journey to becoming the largest Black-owned cosmetics company in the world began when Johnson noticed models, in the Ebony Fashion Fair Show were mixing foundations to create the right blend to match their hues. Initially she approached existing cosmetics companies and urged them to create a line to meet the specific needs of women of color. Unfortunately, this request was met with great resistance.

Mrs. Johnson and her late husband John H. Johnson,  publisher of Ebony and Jet magazine, went to a private lab that developed formulas out of the mixtures the models created. After successfully applying this makeup on the models in the fashion show, the Johnsons produced The Capsule Collection, a mail-order package in 1969. Based on the overwhelming response, it was clear there was a demand for a Black cosmetics line.

Fashion Fair Cosmetics was born in 1973, named after the fashion show that inspired it. With its feminine pink packaging and a wide range of shades, Fashion Fair Cosmetics was strategically marketed in high-end department stores. The line continued to expand by introducing skin care, fragrance and hair care products that addressed Black women's needs.
A trusted brand by many, Fashion Fair Cosmetics remains deeply rooted in the African-American experience. The line can be found in fine stores across the United States as well as in Canada, UK, France, Africa and the Caribbean.

In 2008, the brand embarked on a makeover by introducing a new logo, more modern, contemporary packaging and a wider range of shades. The brand's focus remains dedicated to offering products, services and education that address the unique complexion needs for women of color.
Almost 40 years after the first counter opened, Fashion Fair Cosmetics continues to pursue it’s vision to become the pre-eminent global company that women of color trust to help them look and feel beautiful.''

Well... although Fashion Fair is not as visible as it used to be, believe it or not, it is still very much alive and catering to our community. It appears, from the various articles that I have read, that the majority of the brand's patrons are understandably the old faithfuls (50 and 60 years old). That said, from looking at the website, when it comes to skincare and make-up, all the usual suspects are available from Fashion Fair... So, far from being an old-fashioned brand, there is actually quite a lot to appeal to the younger generation of women.

Fashion Fair Skin Care Product Range
Fashion Fair Make-Up Product Range

So, I guess the question is, where on earth can I purchase Fashion Fair if I were to consider trying it/using it again? Well.... this depends on where you are: In the States you can order online from Macy's. Here in the UK, I just discovered that you can purchase from the likes of Boots... Debenhams, House of Fraser and selected shops such as Paks (if you live in London you will know Paks). To purchase from anywhere else in the world, I know that you can buy online from SweetFace Cosmetics who ship internationally. Check out the Fashion Fair website for more information (here).

So there you have it... For me, I am not really a heavy make-up user, however if you were to look at my make up bag you would see different items of make-up from different brands. I have MAC foundation, Mary Kay concealer, Fashion Fair lipsticks, Sleek eyeshadows... etc.

However, having said that, provided that the quality and range are available, for me, there is just something right and comforting about patronising a black brand that was made specifically for black women at a time when the major/mainstream brands didn't give us a look-in. I love that... I want to support that, and so when my current batch of make-up expires (YES make-up does expire), I shall definitely be looking homeward bound to see 'what's good' at Fashion Fair. I''ll keep you 'posted' ;)

Let me know if any of you use Fashion Fair or plan to. It would be nice to hear your opinions... email or comment.

Thanks for reading....

Stay confident and beautiful.


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