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CONVOS WITH CLAIRE NYC 2018 RECAP! MAJOR NETWORKING VIBES AND INSIGHT FROM THE INDUSTRY'S BEST

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE & PHOTOS BY LAURENCE JAMES

   Shop My Look  : I am wearing a  snakeskin print top  and  maxi faux fur coat  from Boohoo,  faux suede mini skirt from Missguided ,  black thigh high boots from Miss Lola ,  House of Rehab quilted crossbody bag , and earrings that I bought from who knows where forever ago.

Shop My Look: I am wearing a snakeskin print top and maxi faux fur coat from Boohoo, faux suede mini skirt from Missguided, black thigh high boots from Miss Lola, House of Rehab quilted crossbody bag, and earrings that I bought from who knows where forever ago.

So, this past weekend, I attended the well-anticipated Convos With Claire fashion networking mixer. I’m pretty sure most know who trailblazing fashion media maven Claire Sulmers is (especially if you follow posts on here because she’s my role model) , but for those of you who don’t know, Claire is the founder and editor in Chief of Fashion Bomb Daily, one of the world’s most influential fashion websites. She also maintains her own lifestyle blog called The Bomb Life, while serving as an influencer and brand ambassador for the likes of Verizon, Martini & Rossi, and more.

I finally met Claire during fashion week back in September, so I was definitely excited to link with her again! At her mixers, Claire is known for bringing together the stylish and ambitious discuss various topics in fashion and business with some of the industry’s best. For this particular event, Claire brought out a star studded panel to drop gems on us, at the Flat NYC on 24th Street. Panelists included Celebrity Stylist, Designer, Instructor, and Global Creative Partner of MCM, Misa Hylton, Television Personality & Entrepreneur Bevy Smith, and Designer and Furrier to your celeb faves, Duckie Confetti. The event’s theme was animal print.

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Starting with a BOMB VIP Brunch and red carpet welcome featuring DJ JFK, the atmosphere was intriguing and inviting as fashion creatives settled in to vibe and shop. Claire typically uses her events to bring awareness to dope brands that many may not be familiar with already. Vendors included: Black Tag ApparelMess in a BottleNroda SunglassesRed Eye Luxe, Boutte Rouge BoutiqueYvonne JewnellLaMonique Cosmetics, and Vanity Storm.

I instantly connected with a few fellow bloggers as we helped each other flick it up while bouncing our creative ideas off of each other. Not long after, the panel began as my photographer arrived to help me get content. I literally gained so much knowledge and insight but a few of my main takeaways included…

“MAKE STRATEGIC MOVES WITHIN YOUR BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL LATER ON BE PROFITABLE IN THE LONG TERM” -via DUCKIE CONFETTI

Talking about doing “work for free”, so to speak, is often a topic that is considered almost taboo in the fashion industry. As fashionistas questioned what type of “free” work was the right move, Duckie gave insight on how he strategizes when it comes to this. He shared how he gave Meek Mill’s stylist a leopard sleeve hoodie free of charge, knowing that seeing the very well known rapper in his merch would influence people to shop (he was right, this one move alone made him 6 figures). He stressed to us the importance of making sacrifices for your brand that will likely have a high upside, financially.

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“THE STRUGGLE IS GOOD FOR YOU, IT GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE, SUBSTANCE & GRIT!”- via BEVY SMITH

Though Bevy is now a very well established professional, she shared how there was a 7 year era where she would have to “go out and hunt and kill” for work. She stressed how though this was one of the most difficult times of her life, it was the time in her life that built her character the most. Bevy encouraged those on the quest to manifest big dreams to not be in the rush for “success” or “stardom” and to embrace their current struggles because quite often the struggle itself is what’s propelling you toward the life you dream about.

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“YOUR VISION IS CLEAR, NOW JUST CONTINUE TO EXECUTE” - via MISA HYLTON

Upon me asking iconic stylist Misa Hylton what moves I should make to continuously set me apart in my craft, she asked what makes me unique. Once I told her how it’s my passion for who my clients truly are and using that to create looks that speak to their highest self, she reassured me how clear my individuality already is.

Misa shared how it took her a while to gain confidence as a stylist being that she first got into the business with her then boyfriend. But it took for her to keep going after they ended to really recognize who she was and what she wanted to achieve as a stylist. She let me know that from here on out, its all about using the knowledge I gain from each experience to move forward and do what works for me because the path for everyone is not the same.

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“KEEP GOING, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU’RE POSITIVELY INFLUENCING “ - via CLAIRE SULMERS

While sharing with us how she felt so close to giving up lately due to the challenges that Fashion Bomb Daily had been facing as a business, she simply didn’t. She got emotional looking at the AMAZING turn out of the event, saying that was just what she needed to reassure her that she was doing something right. She inspired us to keep going because we never know who we’re motivating and influencing. The mixer’s turn out was living proof of that!

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After a little more networking and connecting, I left the event SO ready to execute on the new insight. It’s crazy because this past week, I hadn’t been feeling well at all. A couple days before leaving for the event, I came down with the worst cold I’ve had in a while so I was feeling so drained. Honestly, as excited as I was for the meet up, the last thing I felt like doing was going out. But this weekend definitely taught me that you never know what blessings and great opportunities you give up when you only focus on what you feel like doing.

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I wanna encourage you to also push past your comfort zone, even when you may not feel like it. Take time to invest in your craft and don’t be afraid to seek out experiences that will contribute to your growth!

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Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”

P.S. There will be many more Convos With Claire meet ups for those who wanna attend in the future! Keep your eyes peeled on the @convoswithclaire Instagram page and Fashion Bomb Daily.

Want more recap content? Check out this recap on Style With Sharra: The Podcast Series.

TALKING FASHION WEEK, PURPOSE, AND BREAKING BARRIERS: MY INTERVIEW WITH FEARLESS & MULTI- FACETED CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR COURT KIM

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE

  Court Kim for Matte Brand. Photos by    Arturo Evaristo   .

Court Kim for Matte Brand. Photos by Arturo Evaristo.

    The dope thing about networking and connecting with like-minded creatives is that as you cross paths, you often get to watch each other’s dreams come true. That’s certainly the case with my lil boo Courtlyn Montgomery, aka Court Kim. We met back in April, as we were both doing media coverage for our affiliated brands at the Fashion Designers' and Craftmakers' Angelman Syndrome Charity Event. We instantly vibed, along with a couple of other dope fashion creatives who atttended.

    I still keep in touch with them to this day so I knew that Court would be walking at NYFW. However, I had NO idea it would be for the same exact show that I would be styling! Upon seeing her name on the lineup, I was pumped to connect with her again. Being present doing what I love, while also being there for her during the backstage chaos that is NYFW, was seriously so special to me, especially as a witness to how multi faceted Court’s brand is and most importantly, how much of a genuine spirit she truly is.

          On top of being an extremely talented and candid journalist for Court Kim Media and LAPP the Brand, she also owns an online t-shirt brand, juggles modeling gigs, and is a bride-to-be, all while remaining extremely humble, well-wishing to others, and having extreme tunnel vision. Her energy is contagious and I’m beyond happy that we connected this year. Check out my interview with Court as we talk her inspirations, her BOMB fashion week experience, her advice to interns, and more.

           

  Photo Courtesy of Style Fashion Week.

Photo Courtesy of Style Fashion Week.

Sharra: When did you first learn you had a passion for journalism and how did your other creative endeavors such as modeling come into the picture?

Courtlyn: I loved the concept of telling stories early on as a kid. I also love to talk to people about who they are. When I watched Oprah with my Mom as a kid, I grew fond of how she was able to break barriers while eloquently relay the real-life experiences of the American people. My other creative endeavors came out of wanting to naturally expand. Modeling was the biggest surprise for me because I didn’t know that someone like me could make it. I’m happy that I was wrong.

Sharra: So has your upbringing and background has affected who you are as a creative? If so, how?

Courtlyn: Ahhh this one is tricky. Roswell, GA wasn’t the place that I could really get into my creative self. It was more about surviving a conservative, predominately white community as a black kid. Through God and my loved ones, I’ve survived so many traumatic events and I’m still here to tell that narrative. It affects me to the point that I don’t sugarcoat anything anymore. I want my shoots to be meaningful and strategic. My articles have been  received well because I know my purpose. I’m not PR. I’m a Journalist. It’s my duty to eloquently report the facts.

Sharra: Yeah, you can definitely tell that you have a “survivor, not a victim” mindset. It translates through how transparent and candid you are as a writer. So let’s talk fashion week. I stood backstage with you holding your hand during the chaos right before your NYFW debut. It was so special watching that dream come true for you on the runway AND watching you get a standing ovation! Explain what that moment meant for you? 

Courtlyn: LISTEN. First of all, I lucked out in having you backstage with me. Thank you for keeping me level minded through the process. NYFW has been a dream of mine for the longest. It’s one of the world’s biggest stages. The backstage experience was hectic! I was practicing on my backless heels for two hours prior to hitting the main runway. Briana Wilson (the designer of MATTE Brand) casted me in a campaign two years prior so it just felt like destiny to share this moment with her. The standing ovation was the most out-of-body experience that I’ve ever had. It felt electric. I cried after walking as well. A black curve model with boxed braids at NYFW? I did that. I’m still in disbelief that I achieved that.

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Sharra: You definitely did! It was crazy, both being with you backstage and then watching it all pay off during the show and I’m so happy that I was able to be apart of that milestone in your career! So, when asked on Instagram about the importance of internships, you’ve mentioned that you have one under your belt but you believe that you can make your dreams happen on your own. What do you believe is needed to be a successful, multi-faceted creative entrepreneur in today’s world? 

Courtlyn: “Internships” should be a fulfilling experience in your field with proper compensation. College kids should know this so their labor won’t be exploited. My internship, however, was more so about fulfilling something for my resume. However, everything that I’ve done as a creative had nothing to do with my internship. My hard work, drive, and vision has been my guide this entire time. 

Sharra: I agree. I feel like internships should be mutually beneficial, especially because most young people who participate in them are often just starting to take on at least some financial responsibility. So Courtlyn, You’re working so hard on every aspect of your personal and professional brand from perfecting your craft as a writer, to serving as a muse for several fashion and creative projects. What message do you want to send to the world with your work?

Courtlyn: I feel like my message is embedded in my overall brand and creative vision. I lead with love, kindness, and intelligence in everything that I do. I want the world to know that I’m young, Black, and gifted. There’s no point of being humble about it because I deserve to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Black Women deserve to experience joy and that’s what I’m going to exude. In terms of my career in Journalism, I want my writing to always be meaningful, poignant content. 

Sharra: I’m so glad that you get that black women deserve to experience joy and be selective and intentional with all of their work! Way too often, women are trained to serve as everyone else’s source of joy but we can’t pour into others when our own glasses are empty… So, as a stylist, I’m always stressing the importance of using personal style as a means of self expression. It’s important to me that people have fun with their look and that they don’t get so caught up in today’s “trends” that they lose their sense of individuality. How would you describe your personal style? I know it’s pretty versatile! But how would you put it into words?

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Courtlyn: My style is really sporadic to be honest. I don’t dress on a “trends” basis because it’s honestly wack. I’ll partake if I feel that a trend has the capability of being “timeless.” I have hints of “goth” influence in my wardrobe as well. I really want to tap into that more. When I step out, I always serve a “bombshell” look. I love to wear something simple that accentuates my curves.

In the Winter, I always have my statement faux fur pieces. I also loooove to wear menswear. I know that my fiancé is probably annoyed with me for borrowing his clothes on a constant basis. In terms of my hair, I am sticking to my box braids. They’re super easy to maintain and they make me feel powerful. 

Sharra: You’re constantly adding to your brand. You juggle a day job, your dream job (being a journalist owning your own media company, and creative muse, having a t shirt line, etc.) what’s next for the Court Kim brand? Or are you focused on perfecting what’s already on your plate?

Courtlyn: Wow... I really do a lot, huh? This list is so steep. I’ve just closed a couple of deals for future media projects. One of them is a new podcast. The other one is something that I can’t even comment on. I’ve been given a few dream opportunities and I’m in my zone. I’m constantly working on Court Kim Media. I just don’t create based on instant gratification. I want my projects to be well-crafted. I’m in this fearless, commanding time in my life. This is what I’ve been working so hard for.


Court, it’s more than a pleasure being a witness to some of your major achievements in the industry. Thank you for sharing with me and my readers and I’m looking forward to watching the growth of all things Court Kim! Keep up with Court on Instagram, check out her articles here, and check out her t shirt line here!

More interviews and style posts coming very soon to the blog! Make sure you’re subscribed here to be the first to know about new content!

Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”