When we think of perfume, it’s often instinct to think of France—Chanel, Dior, Diptyque. This isn’t unfounded. For hundreds of years, the noses of the perfume industry were primarily located in Grasse, a town in the south of France. The perfume industry, valued at 31.4 billion dollars, has historically been an insular one; the skill being passed down from father to son. Modern access to the perfume industry is limited by many factors—educational and physical barriers being the most prominent. Perfumery schools are often expensive and located in Europe. ISIPCA, one of the most prestigious institutions of this nature, can cost approximately $12,000 per year. As a result, there’s a big diversity problem in the perfume industry.
Progress is being made, including help from the Fragrance Foundation, a nonprofit created to support and educate its members. The organization has formed an initiative committed to increasing inclusion and providing mentorship within the fragrance industry through partnerships with schools and institutions across the country. That being said, it shouldn’t be this hard to find BIPOC-owned and created perfumes. We’re here to help. Here are five brands helping to push the category forward, and yes, they smell divine.
With notes of tomato leaf and leather, this first scent by Savoir Faire, a brand by artist Chris Classic, is a great and versatile perfume. The brand celebrates “exclusive inclusion”—the unique individual ability to thrive in various social circles regardless of skin color, religion, education, or socioeconomic situation. Even better: Savoir Faire has also teamed up with Black Men Smile, a platform that promotes radical self love for Black men everywhere.
Shop now: Savoir Faire Signature Eau de Parfum, $110
KIMBERLY New York perfumes “serve as an answer for the modern, socially-conscious consumer in search of black-owned, fine perfumery,” says founder, Kimberly Walker. If you’re looking for a youthful, sweet scent, Artsy is it, with notes of candied apple, violet, and sandalwood.
Shop now: Kimberly New York ARTSY, $99
Desire was made to explore and embrace sexuality across all gender identities. Notes of bergamot blossom, lemongrass, and pinot noir grapes are are tied to attraction and arousal, making it a perfect date-night perfume.
Shop now: Nick Ricardo Desire, $64
Sita Red is the trademark Sita Perfume. It has notes of rose, patchouli, and sandalwood, which makes it intense, sensual, and spicy. The blend is made to evolve throughout the day, and because a little goes a long way, it is the perfect rollerball fragrance that will stay in your bag for a long time.
Shop now: Anu Essentials Sita Red, $40
Meant to remind you of spring with every spritz—it includes notes of bergamot, tomato leaf, and rose—these rollerballs are great to stash in your purse. (And who doesn’t love a 3-for-1 deal?)
Shop now: Kirk Eliott Intentional Eau de Parfum, $85
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