Interview

Claire Sulmers (@XOXOClaire_com) Talks Fashion, Diversity & How To Stay Relevant

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Beautiful, Blonde bombshell and Harvard graduate, Claire Sulmers is a woman who doesn’t play to the fashion industry’s rules.  She makes her own rules while cultivating authenticity in a game filled with more followers than leaders. Sulmers doesn’t follow trends she sets the trends and is  inspiring millions of women along the way with her individuality and drive.  Sulmers spoke with Abesi about her journey in fashion and all the exciting things that the fashionista has in store for the summer and future.

Type in fashionbombdaily.com into your web browser and you’ll be blasted with colorful inspiration and headlines like, “What to Wear to ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood” and “#BCW: Beauty Crush Wednesdays: Gugu Mbatha-Raw.” But, before the blog-turned-fashion magazine reached millions of viewers with articles about celebrity style and international fashion weeks, the owner and fashion expert, Claire Sulmers had to overcome a few obstacles. Sulmers shared that it’s not always glitzy and peaches and creams in fashion. Fashion is a business first where only the strong survive.

“I started it in August of 2006,” Sulmers reminisced about the beginnings of her hit fashion blog, “I think the main challenges, and the ongoing challenge, is having the credibility and people taking me seriously. Getting that foot in the door and getting that stamp of approval, takes a long time.”

Claire was also able to trace the roots of her online magazine back to her fashion-forward adventures in Paris, France. She currently holds a B.A. magna cum laude in Romance languages from Harvard University. “I never listened to people when they told me no,” she admitted.

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“Back in the day when you went to Paris Fashion Week, there was an option to wait and line and be a stand-in girl. And I remember I was standing in line to get into the Alexander McQueen show and this guy was just like, c’est impossible, it’s impossible. When I was living in Paris and trying to find an internship at Paris Vogue, it was one of the most difficult things ever. You just have to keep pushing and stay positive. You can’t get discouraged. People might look at you and think you’re not the right type to be in the fashion show or the type of person to be in the fashion department, but thanks to the digital age, you can create your own movement and do your own thing.”

“I think it’s difficult for women of color in any location, and especially fashion,” the NYC based writer and editor also acknowledged. “We have issues of diversity and inclusion and I would notice–when I’d first started going to Fashion Week–that our non-women of color would sometimes get opportunities and access that I wouldn’t. There will always be issues, but I feel that after ten years, things are definitely changing in a positive direction.”

So, is diversity in fashion serious?

“It’s one of those things,” Sulmers sighed. “Some years it’s encouraging and some years it’s discouraging. It’s a persistent problem. And that’s why online magazines like fashionbombdaily.com continue to survive. It gives us the stage to showcase diversity and the true beauty of the world.”

 

“The great thing about having new and fresh voices is that we can have new points of view!” she said proudly. “You know, you have my seasoned voice and then the voice of newcomers. You have to continue to innovate and try new things, while trying to give people what they need every single day.”

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When it comes to monetizing her online magazine, Sulmers put it simply, “Most of it is advertising like every other magazine. We’ve joined with ad networks who have taken a look at our demographics. Most recently, as I’ve been fine-tuning my personal brand, we have lots of ambassadorships as well.”

She also heavily credits staying relevant to consistency. She proudly noted that over the past ten years she’s written over 10,000 articles, and has now garnered almost 120,000 Instagram followers.

This year, Claire has been diversifying her portfolio and venturing  to L.A., Atlanta, Detroit, and the U.K., among other places to host Cocktails with Claire, which has essentially evolved from a fan meet and greet event into a must-attend networking event, which allows local vendors to showcase their wares to a “fashion-enthused” audience.  Known for her bright blonde locks, Sulmers also managed to snag an Ambassador position with Dark & Lovely.

“This is the spring and summer of black girl magic and this is the season of us embracing everything. Our color, our hair, our hair type and showing people we are multidimensional and we’re versatile and beautiful in our different shades, ” she stated.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined,” Sulmers’ bio reads on Instagram. It’s safe to say that she surely is living life to the fullest and  you can too no mater what comes you way.

Keep up with Claire on:  Instagram @clairesulmers  and Twitter @XOXOClaire_com

 

By Abesi Manyando and Zain-Minkah Murdock.

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