Fashion Fair is officially relaunching.
The new, modernized Fashion Fair launches Sept. 1 online and at Sephora in North America with some of its cult classics, including Iconic Lipstick in Chocolate Raspberry, plus a new look and cleaner formulations that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, sunflower seed oil and peptides.
Fashion Fair originally debuted in the ‘70s as the first prestige makeup brand made specifically for Black women and was sold globally in department stores. Now, the line is being relaunched by Desiree Rogers and Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, who bought Fashion Fair out of bankruptcy in 2019. They both spent time as executives at Johnson Publishing, the original developer of Fashion Fair, and said the glamour, fashion and beauty of Black women remains the inspiration for the brand. With the relaunch, they’ve envisioned Fashion Fair as a line that will meet the makeup needs of women across a broad variety of deep skin tones, they said.
Actress KiKi Layne is the face of the brand, and will be featured in marketing materials, including a video with her dancing to music by Big Freedia.
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“We really are committed to creating these transformative products for a diverse spectrum of darker skin tones,” said Rogers. Makeup artist Sam Fine, who had previously worked as Fashion Fair’s creative director, helped develop the brand’s new lineup. Dermatologist Caroline Robinson also helped guide product development, Rogers and Mayberry McKissack said.
Fashion Fair will launch with 14 shades of Iconic Lipstick, $26; 16 shades of SkinFlex Stick Foundation, $37; 14 shades of Crème to Powder Skin Foundation, $37; Fabulous Priming Serum, $37; six shades of Set it Loose Powder, and 12 shades of Iconic Pressed Powder, $34. The brand’s powders and foundations are made with vegan formulations, and some are meant to protect against blue light.
“We certainly had to begin with those all-time favorites, and we couldn’t get them all in with this introduction, but we got a nice assortment of those products, starting with the Iconic Lipsticks,” Rogers said. “Fashion Fair has always been known for the very vibrant, vivacious, sexy, luscious … colors in creams and pearls, so we’re launching 14 lipsticks, 10 of those are our all time favorites, like Chocolate Raspberry, Sepia, Ole Orange and Catfight, but we also layer in four new nudes.” The four new shades span from light to dark nudes, she noted.
“This is a good example of how we bring back what is tried and true. People are emailing us every day saying, ‘where is my Chocolate Raspberry, where is my Ole?,” Mayberry McKissack said, noting that the core Fashion Fair community remains engaged. “We’re also combining it with something new, because we know that there are other opportunities out there that have not been totally filled.”
Rogers and McKissack spent time re-formulating Fashion Fair’s products so they would appeal to both existing and new consumers, and added in many ingredients today’s consumers want to use. They also created a “do not use” list of other, do-not-use ingredients, that they said is similar to the Clean at Sephora standards. Beauty products targeted toward women of color have contained more potentially hazardous ingredients, according to research released by the Environmental Working Group in 2016. Their analysis showed one in 12 products marketed to Black women were ranked highly hazardous according to their Skin Deep database.
“The manufacture and production has been a long process [and] to be able to stick to our do not use list at the same time get the kind of payoff that so many of Fashion Fair users are used to,” Rogers said. “We didn’t want to disappoint there, but at the same time we wanted to be cognizant of all the new things that have happened since the brand first launched.”
Fashion Fair’s new Iconic Lipstick, which remains highly pigmented, will contain sunflower seed oil and rosemary leaf, meant to provide hydration and conditioning for lips. The brand’s SkinFlex Stick Foundation contains Rice Bran and aloe leaf extract, meant to soothe and soften skin, and reduce inflammation. The Crème to Powder foundation contains bamboo powder and resorcinol meant to help fade dark spots, plus vitamin C. Fashion Fair’s priming serum comes in one shade, peach, and contains peptides and hyaluronic acid designed to smooth and plump skin.
“Many times on darker skin tones you’ve got to rub and rub if you’ve got a white [primer] you’re putting on your face — we made this one peach so it goes really well on darker skin tones, it’s a primer hybrid,” Rogers said.
At Sephora, products will be merchandised on a milky-green gondola, a departure from Fashion Fair’s signature pink color palette. “It’s going to invoke a feeling of freshness, a feeling of really good vibes,” McKissack said. “A really good feeling that their product is back, and it’s better than ever.”
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