Claire Sulmers On What’s Next For The Black Fashion Industry

Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images.
Welcome to Fashionably Black!, a style and culture guide for Black people highlighting the cultural moments, pioneers, and conversations we’ve always been a part of! Putting a magnifying glass to style & self-expression, Fashionably Black! explores the many ways we are the history, we are the fashion, and will ALWAYS be. We're not trending, we're true.
Claire Sulmers, started the renowned and influential website Fashion Bomb Daily in 2006. Almost 20 years later, the blog has since transformed into a shopping and resource hub of influencers and celebrity fashions. If you’ve ever seen a look you loved and wondered where it came from, chances are that Fashion Bomb Daily has already identified the designer and the price point; the page is swift in finding its audience requests, pinpointing in record speed everything from Lori Harvey’s NYFW looks, Rihanna’s latest street style fits, and all things beauty and accessories.
But that’s just one layer of Sulmers’ mission with her platform. The Fashion Bomb Daily CEO and founder has a heart for emerging designers of color in the fashion industry and has made a point to showcase them to the world. At any point, you’ll see her wearing the brands out during fashion month, highlighting them on her Instagram page and shop, and even bringing them center stage during Fashion Bomb’s highly anticipated runway show. This September marked the second annual fashion show hosted by the Eva Marcille, and it included thirteen up and coming brands: Michele Lopez, Mason Beretta, Allure Novembre, CBN Chicago, Aisha McShaw, Silver & Riley, Queen Russia, Ade by Femi, BruceGlen, Hot Miami Styles, Daykeyla, Fulani Handbags, and Shane Justin.
Photo by Geremy Dubensky
As guests entered the swanky venue for Fashion Bomb’s mix and mingle, it was refreshing to see so many Black and brown people decked out in their stylish fits in support of the brand. It was at that moment that I realized I was attending one of the NYFW fashion shows that would be populated mostly by people who looked like me. And behind that incredible moment was a Black woman with a passion for her community. 
When I first caught up with Sulmers, I admired her from afar and watched as she got her makeup done and her photos taken. Even though this was a moment of celebration for her, Sulmers was still hard at work, preparing and making sure people had what they needed so that the show could be a great success. Transformation complete, we sat together and talked about the Fashion Bomb Show, the designers she hand-selected, and what the future holds for her and for her brand.
Unbothered: What do you attribute to the success and impact that Fashion Bomb Daily has had on the fashion industry?
Claire Sulmers: I think that we were one of the first sites to focus on diversity. I'm a woman of color, and I looked at other women of color as an inspiration; I see their beauty, I see their style. For a very long time, traditional media didn't always understand Black beauty or even cater to it. It's something that's trending now, and it's at the forefront of their minds. But when I started in 2006, it was novel and new, so I feel very blessed to have been one of the first to create opportunities for other people and to show them that it's possible to succeed in the fashion industry.
This show is just another platform that I'm using to introduce more diversity to the fashion industry. I don't think there's enough, and I don't think there can ever be enough. I know that we have different brands and organizations that focus on it, but I think we need everyone ready on deck to represent and show people that fashion is for everyone.
Photo by Geremy Dubensky
How do you choose which emerging designers to include in the Fashion Bomb show? What do you look for in each brand?
CS: For me, it's about a feeling. And after doing this for over 15 years, I know what I like and what I don't like. I look for brands that are different, bring something new to the table, are inclusive, and that showcase clothing for women of all sizes and all shapes. Selfishly, I also want to be able to wear them. [laughs] But I also feel each brand has something to say.
Fashion Bomb Daily will soon be celebrating 20 years in the game. What do you envision for the future of your brand? 
CS: Wow! I see more fashion shows, even traveling shows. I see more events now that COVID is over. Soon, the sequel to my first book, The Bomb Life, will be coming, and [I hope to continue being] the top destination for multicultural fashion, for shopping, for fashion shows, and for media; I hope Fashion Bomb Daily can get to the level of a Condé Nast. Some people think fashion is purely superficial, but it's deeper than that. There's so many layers, and anybody who's helping to push the message forward that we deserve a seat at the table or creating that seat at the table deserves to be celebrated.

More from Celebs & Influencers

R29 Original Series