Once again it seems the fashion world has caught on to something black women have been doing for years and turned it into a trend. Everywhere you look, women are proudly showing off nail art from DIY creations to intricate designs painted, glued, and pressed on at salons. It’s being featured in high-fashion magazines, the New York Times, and touted as one of the hottest trends of the year, but a few people are calling the industry’s bluff.

“It’s something that’s been around forever in the black community,” NY Magazine beauty editor Aja Mangum told Buzzfeed Shift. ”You used to associate it with being a little ‘hood’ or ‘ghetto fab.’ Now white women are tricking out their nails and it’s not seen that way.”

She’s definitely got a point. At the beginning of the acrylic nail craze, it was black women signing up for airbrush designs, getting charms attached to their nails, and sporting wild colored patterns and designs that you wouldn’t catch “certain people” in. But truth be told, there’s not much difference in those styles and the neon geometric shapes or animal patterns you’ll find in a pack of press on designs being modeled on a white set of hands in Sephora. What was once seen as a hot ghetto mess is now being touted as a haute mess because other women have taken a liking to it.

Fashion critic Robin Givhan has a different take on why nail art has suddenly become trendy to the masses. She says, “Maybe it crossed some class line, as opposed to having crossed a racial line … You have to be very careful in claiming that any group of people owns a look, or claiming that you have to pay homage to them.”

  • Lauren

    This is definitely a case of Hollywood divorce/the bandwagon effect.

  • Amber

    i’ve been saying this for the past 2 years. thank the lord someone else did

  • Fox

    No different than big butts on non black women are “hot”.

  • http://bananaplusbamboo.blogspot.com/ digitalribbon

    I think its something that did cross racial lines the same with colourful hair you see now everywhere.

    However i don’t find it odd that nails/nail art has become so popular. In terms of other beauty products/treatments etc its cheaper. There is a global recession and it can be done DIY at home. Mix that with popularity of nails on the catwalk, “celebrity” nail techs and the fact that its fun and can be a creative outlet= Popular.

  • Bree

    This is nothing new. I’ve done nail art since I was 12. I haven’t worn polish lately, though.

  • me

    i’ve always said it and i will say it again. african americans are the people that everyone looks to for inspiration and creativity. no other race is as creative and amazing as us. from ethnic prints on white models in fashion shows deemed as “new trends” … from colorful hair and even that ratchet-ish editorial in vogue italia, and now nail art. who do i give my side eye to? white ppl will never admit it but come on.

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