Another Legacy Brand Gets New Life as Black Opal’s New Owners Acquire Fashion Fair

Desiree Rogers, left, and Cheryl Mayberry McKissack
Photo: Nathan Becker, Powell Photography

Move over, Fenty Beauty and Pat McGrath, there’s a new black female-owned beauty empire on the rise. Hot on the heels of their acquisition of Black Opal cosmetics in September, the powerhouse team of company CEO Desiree Rogers and President Cheryl Mayberry McKissack have announced the purchase of pioneering beauty brand Fashion Fair from its founder, Johnson Publishing Company (JPC).

Once the largest black-owned cosmetics company in the world, Rogers and McKissack, both former JPC execs, are hoping to restore the former luster of the heritage brand so many of us grew up watching our mothers and grandmothers use, with help from minority investor Alec Litowitz (further details of the deal were not disclosed).

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“Fashion Fair is just too valuable for our community to lose,” Rogers said in a press release sent to The Root. “We plan to modernize the brand and products, but will remain true to the company’s roots, which was to create prestige products focused on women of color.”

In a nod to the brand’s history, Rogers and McKissack are considering relaunching Fashion Fair with a capsule collection as the line initially did in 1973, quickly expanding to meet popular demand. As the beauty landscape changed in the decades since, so will the new owners’ approach, harnessing the contemporary power of crowdsourcing to curate a collection that resonates with a modern audience.

“We want to know which of our products are favorites amongst members of our community and what other products they would like to see from the brand,” said McKissack. “This conversation will be important as we breathe new life into this iconic brand.”

No word yet on when we can expect to see Fashion Fair’s new offerings. But as for how this new acquisition will dovetail with the team’s recent purchase of Black Opal, sources tell The Root that Fashion Fair will be positioned as the prestige brand in Rogers and McKissack’s holdings, while Black Opal maintains its “masstige” status.

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Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.