I wish I was one of those women who always had immaculate nails. You know the type who lives by the ‘hair done, nails done, everything did’ ethos and treats her talons like works of art. Painted nails epitomise femininity to me, and although I am a regular and enthusiastic buyer of nail polish, nine out of ten times my fingers are stubbly and bare. But the streets of London paint a different picture. Presently, we’re witnessing an explosion of nail art where zany patterns, prints and symbols are painted onto the fingernails of style conscious females with regularity. And right at the centre of this style storm is a 27 year old Londoner named Sharmadean Reid.
The former trend analyst and fashion stylist created WAH Nails in 2008 and in this short space of time her company has solidified its reputation as one of the most creative, influential and hip nail businesses in the country. Reid releases a book this summer entitled ‘The Wah Nails Book of Nail Art’. The book provides WAH fans with 25 nail art styles they can attempt to do at home. Sharmadean, originally from Wolverhampton, was recently featured in The FT in a piece entitled ‘Why Britain’s Got Talons’. In the article the author states that nail polish has replaced lipstick as the new ‘recession buy’, with sales of nail polish increasing by 14 per cent to 179 million, and there has also been an increase of nail salons in the UK by 16 per cent. As well as the original WAH Nail salon in Dalston, there are also concessions in Top Shop and Stratford Westfield, and yet despite the brand’s soaring popularity, Sharmadean expresses her plans to not lose sight of her core customer base. “Wah sets itself apart by acting as a community first and foremost” she says. “We link girls through talks, creative endeavours and just the openness of the salon. We encourage a street, sassy sort of feminism”. Sharmadean is a great ambassador for creative entrepreneurs: smart, pioneering, self-aware and glamorous. She’s a game changer too. I particularly like what she had to say about the changing face of nail art over at Coco & Creme “Before we started ‘Nail art’ was a dirty word within beauty circles, something a bit tacky and ghetto-but I knew it could be more. No one was bringing it to the mainstream. And that’s where we came in.”
I’ll certainly be picking up a copy of the book and making my way to WAH for a nail makeover.
The WAH Nails Book of Nail Art is available for pre-sale on Amazon.com and will be released on July 10 2012.