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Heist open-sources its research into "nude" shades

Lauretta Roberts
13 July 2019

Heist has opened up its ground-breaking researching into nude skin tones to enable other brands and designers to accurately represent their audiences across their ranges.

The British disruptive tights and underwear start-up carried out its research over two years – dubbed The Nude Project – using insights from 100,000 women around the world and used data science to analyse swatches of skin tones from a dedicated microsite.

This data identified 1,000 unique skin tones, which then allowed Heist to perform Euclidean clustering (a clustering model that groups points that are close together). This data clustering process resulted in seven distinct shades of nude to which any of the 100,000 women who participated in the project could accurately match.


The Nude Project: 1,000 skin tones were clustered into seven shades

Heist used the output of the exercise to create its seven shades of nudes tights range, which is now one of its best-sellers.

The brand's founder Toby Darbyshire said he decided to open up the research to help other businesses create more inclusive lines, in particular those looking to expand globally.

“Our insight was that unless there existed a data driven breakdown of a statistically viable cross section of the female population in any given country, the fashion industry would be incapable of providing nude shades that matched their customers skin tones.

“A lack of clarity around how many nude shades are required to cover an appropriate number of skin tones meant that this decision became commercial (i.e. a matter of working capital constraints) rather than customer driven (i.e. a matter of how many shades were required to serve their customer base).

“This is just the beginning. The Nude Project is set up in such a way that brands expanding into other countries, or with a global footprint, can use the model to easily collate and analyse data to determine how their nude palette should be adapted in any given market,” he said.

Heist Studios

Toby Darbyshire: Heist CEO

Darbyshire established Heist in 2015 to address the poor experience women had with wearing tights. It has since moved into shape wear and has opened a store in London's Seven Dials district.

To date it has raised raised $10m from some of the world's leading investors, including Dame Natalie Massenet's Imaginary Ventures, to build Lab12, its in-house innovation laboratory. This team applies the same level of physiological research and technological innovation to underwear that has only previously been applied to the sportswear category.

Brands wishing to learn more about The Nude Project should email: [email protected]

Read our May 2018 interview with Toby Darbyshire here. To find out more about Heist, such as its investors, key executives and social media stats, read its in-depth profile in our master database of fashion, The Intelligence

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