Fashion meets a social movement. This is one way to describe All Dem Shades (ADS). Another is an entrepreneurial venture started by a young business woman who wants to utilize her fashion talents while making a statement with cool, trendy clothing.
New Orleans-born, Atlanta, GA-based Kye Nelson started the online clothing company in December 2015, selling mainly graphic tees. Today, she offers not only tee shirts but jackets pants, dresses, and even swimwear. “One of our bestsellers is the bomber jacket; we have restocked over 25 times since its debut last fall,” notes Nelson. The clothing is embossed with such sayings as: “Melanin Poppin',” “Black Girls Are Lit,” and “Beautiful In All Shades.”The company’s current website design has a feel similar to Beyonce’s “Lemonade” visual CD.
Entrepreneurship is new to Nelson. “Prior to starting my dream business, I was a stay-at-home wife,” she says. But now she’s doing it full time with the help of two staffers.
Nelson depends on the Internet to get the word out about her products. “We market mainly through our social media platforms, with a heavy focus on Instgram. We sometimes run ads through popular websites,” she explains.
As many more African American consumers look to use their money to not only empower other Black businesses but to make social statements, Nelson’s All Dem Shades comes at a perfect time. And considering that African Americans will have $1.3 trillion in collective buying power by 2017, making Black spending more relevant than ever as a consumer group, All Dem Shades is poised to become a very successful clothing line.
“We honestly test the market, designing clothing that we like for ourselves and that we feel other Black girls would like, something with power and a message that starts a conversation. We restock what our customers like most if we have the availability and supply,” explains Nelson.
Nelson considers All Dem Shades as an empowering and unifying clothing line, one that celebrates all the shades of blackness. Designing is not new to Nelson. She has a degree in fashion merchandising, and says she was inspired to do away with the stigma “pretty for a dark skinned girl.” Instead, her line celebrates Black women of all hues.
“ADS focuses on inclusion of all Black women and celebrates all skin tones. We wanted to illustrate that Black women are all beautiful in every shade, size, kink, and coil throughout our website,” says Nelson. “We want to make a positive impact in our community using fashion as a platform to encourage a culture of self confidence and pride. Our goal is to build a brand that empowers the Black woman to be bold, Black and proud in any shade of brown through fashion and representation.”