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Yorkville cosmetics firm joins slowly growing movement of inclusive skin tones

Radford Beauty launches line of diverse foundations for ‘real people in real life’

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A luxury beauty line based in Yorkville in Toronto is diversifying its product range, joining companies involved in a slowly growing trend focused on inclusivity in the skin-care and cosmetics industries.

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Makeup artist and skin therapist Victoria Radford is introducing a more inclusive range in her beauty line, Radford Beauty, and the launch in September began with a mural celebrating a more diverse future for the beauty industry.

The skincare-focused beauty brand is expanding the shade options of its TINT Daily Skin Perfector, and celebrated the occasion with an interactive community painting as part of Yorkville Murals in collaboration with The Other Art Fair. Yorkville Murals is an annual three-day cultural event that celebrates contemporary muralism and public art.

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“Diversity has always been important to me and diversifying the beauty line was always in the works; the reality of starting-up a beauty brand is that everything takes much longer than you’d like it to,” said Victoria Radford, makeup artist, skin therapist, and founder of Radford Studio and Radford Beauty.

In order to “highlight the story of diversity in beauty,” Radford contracted Canadian illustrator Iveta Karpathyova to animate a portrait of the community, entitled Nouveau Glow. Described as taking inspiration from TINT’s spherical pigments that reflect skin’s natural undertones, Karpathyova’s illustration represents the spectrum of Radford’s TINT shades were used to juxtapose a unified mosaic composition.

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The illustration features sections painted by community members during the Yorkville event.

Part of Radford’s inspiration came from hiring her creative director, Amanda Lew Kee, a Ryerson University School of Fashion Design graduate who had already worked shows at Toronto and New York Fashion weeks, and had designed for brands like Roots Canada, Mac Cosmetics, HBO, and The Drake General Store.

It was important to Lew Kee to bring Victoria’s vision of expanding shade options in her beauty line to include more people of colour.

“As a creative, I pull inspiration from observing the evolution and connection of culture and conversation,” said Lew Kee. “In my role at Radford as creative director, it is my mission to tell important stories that reflect our community and shared values. With the expansion of our TINT shade range, our vision was to bring life to our e-commerce focused brand by creatively interpreting our value for real people in real life.”

The concept of diversifying and inclusion in the cosmetics industry is slowly gaining steam.

While Rihanna made history in 2017 with the creation of 40 foundation tones in her beauty line, Fenty Beauty, that new standard hasn’t necessarily been matched by other beauty brands. Inclusivity and tone ranges are improving within the beauty industry, but there is room for more focus on not only skin tones, but skin science aimed at the specific needs of people of colour, according to reports.

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Beauty industry expert Natasha Geddes is the founder of Yorkville’s Good Goddess, a contemporary wellness and nutrition-based beauty company. She sees expanding cosmetic brands to incorporate more skin tones as the only way forward for the industry at large.

“Diversifying beauty products is about celebrating different perspectives on what beauty means and feels like for each individual and culture,” said Geddes, who was also a fashion buyer for Holt Renfrew before founding Good Goddess.

“That’s an exciting way to lead the industry forward. It allows independent creators’ products and voices to shine in an industry traditionally occupied by behemoths. The Yorkville mural project embodies this ‘movement’ from mainstream beauty to one that’s real, inclusive, and welcoming. Victoria and Amanda’s mural addresses this concept head on by reimagining how art is made and by engaging the public in its creation.”

For Radford and Lew Kee, it’s not simply about the Yorkville community coming together to celebrate diversity, it’s about celebrating a more inclusive world.

“I am passionate to tell important stories of added value so that Radford can help others see the best in themselves and the best in others,” said Lew Kee.

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