After a petition demanding darker pointe shoes went viral, Bloch is adding options to match more skintones.
In response to numerous inquiries on Instagram about its lack of options — Bloch currently offers its pointe shoes only in a pink satin — the brand said it “will be introducing darker shades into our pointe shoe offering” beginning in fall of this year.
The announcement comes after a Change.org petition asking the brand to add additional colorways received more than 140,000 signatures. The petition points out that dancers of color are often told to obtain pointe shoes that match their skintone — but that non-pink shades can be tricky to find.
“Dancers of color are often told to obtain brown pointe ballet shoes (the hard-toed lace-up shoes you probably associate with ballet), and not the traditional pink. But few manufacturers make brown pointe shoes — not only is there very little diversity in ballet itself, but what exacerbates the issue is that there is often zero diversity in shoe shades,” the petition reads. “Ballet dancers of color are forced to buy hundreds of tubes of cheap foundation and spend hours caking it on their shoes.”
The petition was launched two years ago but has gained increased traction this month as issues of racial inequality dominate national conversation.
In recent years, brands across the fashion and beauty industries have expanded their concepts of what “nude” means to include darker shades in addition to peach-colored options. In the shoe space specifically, both Christian Louboutin and Stuart Weitzman have added increased nude options over the past few years to match a wider range of skintones.
In the ballet space specifically, there have long been issues pertaining to a lack of diversity and racial discrimination, according to Misty Copeland, the first black female principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre.
“Raven Wilkinson [one of the first African-American dancers to perform with a major ballet company, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo] was told to paint her skin white. I was told at one point to lighten my skin. That’s still going on today,” Copeland told FN last year.
The Under Armour athlete added that the solution is “about owning, accepting and recognizing the history and teaching people why that’s not OK.”
“They need to really understand why it’s wrong, and how it makes us feel, in a deep, conscious way,” she continued.