Updated: May 10, 2019
An in-depth conversation with the fashion world's biggest influencer.....
Claire Sulmers, is a force to be reckoned with via the high fashion world. As CEO + Owner of Fashion Bob Daily, Sulmers continues to influence the world with her light bringing a voice and platform for all women of color.
This is her story....
“When you have an understanding of this country’s history and the politics of perception, you begin to realize just how overlooked and invisible we [as black women] are.” says Sulmers.
CLAIRE SUlMERS | 100 BLK WOMEN | #1
We as Black Women, live life with our hearts on our sleeves, and I mean that in the most literal way possible. The essence of our stories, struggles and accomplishments are all fabricated within the views of a society we so triumphantly wear upon our backs. Every trait that details the definition of our beauty and grace has either been shunned or stolen by individuals who make it a point to keep our light hidden. The history of our presence is worn by every Black Woman, uniquely. The plumpness in our lips, has always been accompanied by the boldness within our voices. The swing in our hips, is always followed by the strength in our strides, and the garments we wear, are cleverly used to disguise our societal lashings. Many, including ourselves, haven been taught to deny Black Women the ownership and glory that comes with our influence and presence, making it easy for others to capitalize on what we already own. A Black Woman’s hair, lips, and everything else is today’s newest fashion accessory, and we’re becoming more aware of this as we watch social media advocate to the vultures that poach from our culture.
The threads that our ancestors weaved for this country, was never meant to clothe us. Historically, we’ve always been invisible, and the reality of that discernment is what powers fashion blogger, Claire Summers.
“When you have an understanding of this country’s history and the politics of perception, you begin to realize just how overlooked and invisible we [as black women] are.” says Summers.
Summers, CEO and owner of Fashion Bomb Daily, which has ranked as one of the top online fashion destinations in the wold, has used her voice to promote visibility for Black Women.
The entire premises of the Fashion Bomb platform is to creatively represent cultural diversity in the fashion world. Sometimes, before we even say anything, our clothing speaks for us. We have always wanted to be seen as more than we’ve been perceived, which some could say is the source to why we fashionably express ourselves in the ways we do.
“We use fashion to make a mark and to set us apart,” says Summers, “the way we dress is how we’re perceived— it tells someone off-bat if we are smart, well-kept…[and so on], which is why it’s been important for us to keep up with the language of fashion”, says Summers, "...carrying that torch and making impactful contributions, is my goal and the reason why I’m here; to carry the torch."
For the past handful of years, we've all watched the rise in popularity of full lips, hips and hair, allowing others to generate billion’s, from recreating features and style nuanced with similarities to our own. Even with social media serving as a meeting place for culture bandits, we’ve somehow managed visibility, allowing accountability when it comes to our untimely contributions to fashion.
“Luckily, there is a sense of accountability; we see it in how Gucci was forced to acknowledge Dapper Dan or the Kardashian/Jenner’s whenever they say they’ve set a new trend”, says Summers.
Accountability and proper representation seems to be some of the few things that fuel the fashion maven and her advocacy.
At the age of fifteen, Summers says she remembers seeing, a then twenty-year old, Brandy grace the covers of Seventeen Magazine; a moment she says she will never forget.
“I remember seeing Brandy on the cover of Seventeen, and at the time, I had never seen anything like it,” recounts Summers, “I couldn’t get enough, I wanted more. I remember writing letters to the editors requesting more of us, and I remember them writing me back pretty much saying leave us alone.”
Unbeknownst to Summers, that encounter would stick with her forever, subliminally underlining the true meaning behind her platform; advocacy.
Denying someone the sense of visibility thwarts that persons value and growth, and dangerously enough, it subjects that person to the limitations of someone else’s thoughts and perceptions. We’ve seen it happen for centuries, and even now, we notice it on a daily basis as we scroll through our social media feeds and see women of counter features, adorning their bodies with the same garments, accessories and styles we were once frowned upon for.
“We all deal with the same commonality; its hard being a Black Woman in a society where we deal with complexities of not being seen or valued”, says Summers, “women of color have to deal with the idea that we are not the beauty standard and when we go out the way to create something, another race takes credit for it”.
Black women have always been marginalized through every avenue of life, so its reoccurring appearances throughout fashion are of no surprise.
“Ive been successful by acknowledging that fact that I’ve been marginalized, I don't need their standards,” says Summers, “I do whatever I need to, to be happy”.
Summer states her happiness is a key part to her success and that she maintaining and undergoing self-care is priority.
“I pray, meditate and do whatever to keep in touch with my spirituality,” says Summers who also states she’s an avid listener to Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation, “Ive listened to it over and over because its so important for us to have a clear mind, especially Black Women because of all we deal with”.
Self-care and awareness are some of the things Summers states has helped her to deal with the many adversities she faces as a Black Woman.
As Black Women, we all encounter afflictions that stem from a lack of visibility and acknowledgement. We grapple through a society that denies us of our value, pushing through a terrain that has no intent to let up, causing a pain that’s so normal we barely acknowledge it— until now. As we progress through a time of resilience and elevation, we are beginning to notice more and more Black Women acknowledge the position we’ve always had with this country, and from that we are fruiting more healed and self-aware Black Women.
“We have to start and continue to be open and have honest conversations that will bring us together,” says Summers, “we have to be okay with not being okay; we can’t be too proud to ask for help, we have to start opening those lines of communication”.
As an author, personality and influencer , Summers’ many platforms have sparked new ways in which she reaches and connects with women of color, in efforts of making their spirits visible.
Her true intent is shown throughout her work, making her platform limitless and her light undeniable. As Black Women we are often taught far too soon that the world and this country specifically will never provide us with the illumination we deserve, but in the case of Claire Summers, sometimes we need to light our own paths to make ourselves visible.