Fashion Fair story, the first makeup brand for black women

fashion fair

While talking with my French readers, I was surprised to learn that some of them thought that Fashion Fair did not exist anymore. And yet, the brand is sold in the United States, in Canada, UK, Africa, and the Caribbean. In France, the brand with a pink packaging can be found at its Printemps corner.

Fashion Fair is the first makeup brand for dark skin, it is also the largest Black-owned cosmetics company in the world. Thus it’s important to learn its story.

It all started in the 60’s during Ebony Fashion Fair. Eunice Johnson, the founder of the travelling fashion show, noticed her models were mixing foundations to create the right blend to match their hues.

eunice johnson

Initially, she approached existing cosmetics companies and urged them to create a line to meet the specific needs of women of colour. 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.

fashion fair vintage

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.

capsule collection fashion fair

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 skincare, fragrance and hair care products that addressed Black women’s needs.

fashion fair corner

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 colour.


Fashion Fair, subsidiary of wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson Publishing Company, LLC, remains deeply rooted in the African-American experience. The brand’s focus remains dedicated to offering products, services and education that address the unique complexion needs for women of colour.

Eunice Johnson is an avant-gardist businesswoman who took the risk that most of the big cosmetics brands refused to take by entering the unexploited market of makeup for black women.

Let’s pay tribute to this exceptional woman and her husband without whom may not have this choice of makeup products that we have today.

More information: Fashion Fair


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