interview with claire sulmers
founder of FashionBombDaily.com
In a lot of ways this interview with Claire Sulmers, founder of FashionBombDaily.com, feels very full circle for me. My girlfriend Tiffany and I used to shut down the mall during college; always showing up fly, fresh and ready (insert runway walk here). Several years later, after I got married, I had three children within a seven year span. I often tell people that it takes a full two years after having a child before you start feeling any semblance of yourself again. From a fashion perspective, I call those 7+ years of my life "the frumpy years".
I was tired y'all.
I was uninspired, and I was looking very hot mess-ish. Very. Hot. Mess. Ish.
But like most human beings, I found inspiration in other human beings. When it came down to hair and skincare, YouTube brought me back to life. And when it came down to me once again serving lewks, Instagram and dozens of bloggers across the web, helped turn my hot mess-ish into my hot-yes-ish! Claire Sulmers and Fashion Bomb Daily were among those inspirational sites and pages.
Ms. Claire Siobhan Sulmers is the founder of FashionBombDaily.com, and the industry’s leading fashion blogger chronicling fashionistas of color.
Her pioneering work ushered in a new wave of digital journalism that fed and fueled an under-served community of African-American and Latino style lovers wanting to know more about brand from the culture. Beyond developing and directing content for FashionBomb Daily and its affiliate sites, Sulmers has done extensive style writing for other platforms including Vogue Italia , Vogue Paris , and ESSENCE Magazine.
Her body of work and online following - now numbered above one million - has made Ms. Sulmers the influencer of choice for major corporate brands who want to reach her audience including Toyota, Reebok, Verizon, and others. Ms. Sulmers, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia, holds a degree in French and African American studies from Harvard University.
In 12 years, Claire has accumulated over 1.3 million followers, written a book “The Bomb Life”, and is now working on her 2nd book.
Claire, thanks so much for agreeing to be a part of this blog!
You've been a fashion inspiration to me and so many others over the years. I'd love to let our Church Pew Slay readers know where your passion started. This question reminds me of that moment in "Brown Sugar" - when did you fall in love with hip hop, I mean fashion?
I've been a fashion since I was a young girl. I don't remember too too much from my childhood, but I can remember a moment when I was playing dress up in my room, draping my mother's silk scarf over my head and smearing lipstick on in the mirror, and thinking: I like this. I instantly experienced the transformative nature of fashion and beauty and how it made me feel. I didn't think at the time that it would one day becoming an all consuming passion and vocation.
Most of the time, I'm a budget shopper and was raised to not put so much emphasis on brands, particularly if they're out of my price point. However, there are so many women out there who don't feel they can afford to update their look. What tips do you have for someone who wants to express their style but has a minimal budget?
Learn to invest in a good tailor. I actually just purchased an outfit from H&M that probably cost $50. But with an extra $20-$50 spent on tailoring it to fit my body perfectly, it can look like a million bucks. Half of the beauty of a well executed look, aside from color and silhouette, is fit. So whether you shop vintage or at Zara or H&M, just invest in a trusty tailor (even the ones at your local dry cleaners) to create that updated, bomb look.
Through social media, I see you hanging with stars a lot. As a matter of fact, I saw you in-person several years ago at an Essence Festival event rubbing elbows and girl I was hating! Are there any celebrities who no matter what, consistently kill the fashion game? For me, Zendaya always gets it right. I squeal a little bit every time she flashes across my screen.
Jennifer Lopez to me will forever be my fashion icon. I also love Zendaya, Victoria Beckham, Rihanna, and Solange.
In a lot of ways, I aspire to get to where you are. Thank you for being such an inspiration to so many. I've had moments over the years when I wished I had started working toward my goals sooner in life, but I also trust God's timing. If you could give words of wisdom to teens, young women, heck old women like me, what would it be?
I would say exactly that, trust in GOD's timing. No one can do what you do, like you do it. You have a unique and distinct path, and you have a unique and distinct gift that you have to give to the world. Sometimes GOD holds back opportunities because you're not ready (and you didn't even know you weren't ready). Sometimes GOD needs you to be disciplined in some areas or change some habits before you receive your blessings. Continue to work on yourself and your craft, every day, and you will get 'there' eventually, whatever 'there' means to you. Set goals and write them down on a card and look at them every day. Stay positive and imagine yourself getting to where you want to go. If you set clear goals, pray, and work towards them, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Faith without works is dead.
Unless it was a close friend or family member, I would never make a negative comment about someone's appearance. However, as quiet as it's kept, I be seeing some awful fashion faux pas. You know what I mean?! For example, I can't stand seeing a woman wearing leggings as if they're slacks. Don't judge me! What are some looks that have given you pause recently; moments when you just want to pull them aside and say sis, nah that ain't it?!!
Just as tailoring is super important to a tailored look, I'd say anything sloppy or ill fitting is definitely a fashion faux pas! But I try to reserve my judgement, because I believe in self expression in many forms. Though between me and you, I also think leggings as pants are a big No No!
Recently we've watched Fashion Bomb Daily grow to the Fashion Bomb Daily Shop, Fashion Bomb Daily Africa, Red Carpet and Exclusives. Can you give our readers a peek into what's next for you and FBD?
Yes, we will be having our inaugural Awards Show, The Faby's, on Friday, December 13th in New York City! Nominees will be elected by fashion insiders, and readers will vote on winners. Guests can get tickets at TheFabys.eventbrite.com.
One question I plan on asking everyone I have the pleasure of interviewing is this - do you have any prayer requests? If nothing personal, there may be a cause or world issue that you're close to. I care about fashion and looking cute and all, but there's nothing more beautiful than taking time to talk to God on someone else's behalf.
My prayer is for limitless abundance, prosperity, good health, wealth, and love for me and everyone I love!
A question you definitely don't have to answer, but I'm shooting my shot and asking anyway (LOL) Will we ever get to see the golden locs again?
I might! But I think the beauty of being a public figure, especially in fashion, is the ability to switch it up. All the greats do it! And I aspire to be great!
I'm so incredibly honored to have had Claire Sulmers as Church Pew Slay's first ever interview. To learn more about Claire and Fashion Bomb Daily, check out the links below.