Nail art is more than a trend — it’s a bona-fide movement. Whether the polish is inspired by a music festival, fueled by feminism, or simply a love letter to summer, it forms a wearable fashion statement that lasts for weeks. Although models and actors have been known to garner attention for rocking intricate designs, the real celebrities in the nail-art world are, fittingly, the artists themselves.
Through viral Instagram posts and head-turning runway looks, these artists prove that nails are a mini canvas with limitless possibilities. Their world is one explored in the critically acclaimed TNT drama Claws , which you can binge now. Starring the ever-fierce Niecy Nash and executive produced by Rashida Jones, the show dives headfirst into the nail world, with a fair amount of behind-the-scenes drama (in this case, undercover drug trafficking).
In real life, the stories may be less theatrical, but the designs are no less mesmerizing. To find out what it’s like to dominate the nail industry, Refinery29 talked with three powerhouses in the nail-art world. Like the women in Claws, these three artists are both incredibly empowering and unapologetically themselves.
After starting a hip-hop fanzine for girls called WAH while still in college, U.K.-native Sharmadean Reid had an itch to take the community she’d built on those pages into the real world. She’d long been struggling to find a place for her and her friends to get the intricate nail art they loved, in a space where they could feel empowered. So in 2009, she built it.
Since then, WAH Nails, located in London’s East End, has gone on to revolutionize the world of nail art, offering women not only a place to get intricate, relevant designs but also to unload about the challenges we face as women. …read more