NOT many people consider nail art as a fashion statement, and even fewer consider it an “art.” Painting nails is seen as something you do if you’ve got time to kill, rather than a component of your daily beauty routine, because nobody’s got time to literally watch paint dry.
Now, with our increasing obsession with Instagram and all things social media, nail artists have been given a platform to showcase their work, and nails are proving to be a game changer in the beauty and fashion industry.
Nail blogs are becoming increasingly popular, with bloggers like Fleury Rose’s designs featuring on the runways of London Fashion Week.
|Fleury Rose's designs featured in Seventeen magazine|
Search the Instagram hashtag ‘nail art’ and the possibilities are endless. You no longer have to be a professional to gain a following. My close friend Ayla O’Keeffe, who has just started out in the nail art bizz, uses Instagram to showcase her creations and market herself [below.]
Like with many aspects of the beauty industry, you can only forge a career out of it if you’re insanely good. Traditionally, the super talented work at the top end of the industry with the A-Listers and the mediocre wind up hanging up their nail files for good or working in a nail salon, which, if you’ve ever been, aren’t always the best place s on earth.
Sure, you might come out with a nice set of talons, but it’s what goes on behind the scenes that are causing a stir in the beauty sphere. In May, The New York Times, wrote an exposé on the realities of the nail industry, highlighting the dire conditions, long working hours and diabolical pay that New York manicurists receive. Some of the manicurists interviewed were found to be illegal immigrants, often untrained and without a proper license.
The conditions, however horrific, are not surprising when many people, including me, would refuse to pay over £15 for a manicure. Partly because I’m a cheapskate, but also because I convince myself that I’m paying over the odds for something I could attempt (and epically fail at) for a fraction of the price at home.
“Getting a pedicure is so personal; someone is up close with your feet!” argues New York based manicurist Raquel Nevarez, “I don’t think I’ve ever paid less than $30. They [manicurists] should be paid well.”
|New York based manicurist Raquel Nevarez|
Photographed by Meredith Hattam
It begs the question why nails sit at the bottom of the beauty totem pole- I’ve paid hundreds over the years to get my hair done, but would never dream of doing the same for my nails.
But some feel that it isn’t just about getting your nails done, “It’s like therapy,” says Navarez, “I have a client who recently broke up with her husband, and she just broke down while I was doing her nails. But she said it actually made her feel better. That’s what I love about doing nails- it has the capacity to make you feel better.”
Although you wouldn’t think it, that’s what’s amazing about the nail experience. It’s this bizarre ceremony of female bonding, with the nail polish being the glue that holds it all together.
I sat there, surrounded by my girl friends whilst I had my nails done and we actually talked. Talked in depth about things that I don’t think I would have ever disclosed otherwise, and it was therapeutic, and something worth paying for.
In summary, I guess that nail art can actually do a lot of things that we weren’t necessarily expecting it to do. It can be an outlet for creativity, and the innovative endeavours of manicurists are now being put on the same pedestal as that of fashion designers. It puts amateur nail designers on the map, making them Instagram it-girls overnight.
However flimsy it may sound, the social side effects of nail art can’t be denied either. Even people like me whose artistic skills are extremely limited can try their hand at nail art with friends. And for a society which constantly pits girls against each other, opening a bottle of nail polish (and maybe a bottle of wine or two) among friends can establish that female bond.
And that is why, above anything, nail art is girl power at its best.
Coming Soon: How To: Nail Art Guide!
My top Instagram accounts for nail art inspo!
Also published on hot new lifestyle website #SpiceUK, click here to check out their site!
As always, thanks for reading x