Sharmadean Reid: The WAH Nails Book Of Downtown Girls

Clash talks to the WAH founder about book number 2.

Shiny things, Hip Hop, YSL make-up and skaters, these are a few of Sharmadean Reid’s favourite things.

Businesswoman, stylist, casting agent and brand consultant, in the last month Reid has been to Paris for the Vans Downtown Showdown, opened Windells London (a pop-up Jamaican restaurant) and begun the publicity trail for WAH Nails second book, of which this interview of course is part.

“We did the first book using tutorials and our top 25 nail designs,” Reid begins. “We had loads more favourites to showcase, and I also wanted this book to be more about the WAH lifestyle and introduce some of our international downtown crew, as the first book was just using London based girls.” She continues, “It's all about maintaining the 'downtown worldwide' ethos that WAH is all about!”

Following ‘The Wah Nails Book of Nail Art’, ‘The Wah Nails Book of Downton Girls’ picks up where the former left of with some additional bite to its bark. Referencing a Sassy (magazine) mindset – as the original WAH zine did prior to the hardbacks – the new book crosses the Atlantic, bearing tips from Reid’s gaggle of leading ladies.

Less focused on making your talons look shit hot (but still with designs aplenty), Sharmadean’s latest page-turner is absorbed in the girls who rock her world. Bertie Brandes and Charlotte Roberts of The Mushpit zine feature, as does Yoon from jewellery brand, Ambush.

Her favourite part of the process? “The interviews! We have guides about how to start your own night or fanzine or product line,” she enthuses. “What was so great was hearing all these girls inspiring stories about how they got started and what they were up against. It's motivational.”

Reid picks out the bandana print and Prada bananas as her two favorite designs – “anything tropical I'm really into right now” – but suggests a simple lick of nude or red is “always sexy and chic.”

The soundtrack to a normal WAH day – should such a thing exist, given the speed at which the brand has spread since its birth in 2009 – is courtesy of Sharmadean. “I send the girls playlists to get going in the salon; The Heatwave give essential bashment vibes!”

Despite a work heavy lifestyle (highlights of which are witnessed by Reid’s 7,932 Instagram followers), a return to print could well be next on the agenda. “I really want to pick up the zine again and make it a big, glossy magazine,” she lets on. “Watch this space.”

All for a healthy dose of girl power, Clash wonders if there might ever be a WAH boy? “We always got time for boys. We had a boy called Louis work for us, he was a dope skater who wanted to set up his own salon.” That told us.

Before we finish, we question Sharmadean on a trend that she helped bring to the mainstream (the Evening Standard ran a piece just weeks ago), that’s been doing the social media rounds all summer. Pool slides or sneakers? “Pool slides for this season, sneakers forever.” 

The WAH Nails Book of Downtown Girls by Sharmadean Reid is out now, published by Hardie Grant (£11.99). 

Words: Zoe Whitfield


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