When it comes to fashion, independent designers are in a lane by themselves. They are battling fast fashion brands on top of luxury labels. Without any backing, their creativity can be altered to create a piece that is more accessible to the customer, and more affordable for them to make.
“It’s frustrating trying to get the consumer to understand the difference especially when it’s in regard to pricing items,” says Sky Conner, CEO, and founder of Cleair Monroe. Conner launched her label in 2017, and since then she has much success by dressing celebrities like Chris Brown but, has also dealt with the hardships of being a black designer.
Despite her initial challenges, the young designer has created pieces that is made for every woman. By including sustainable and well-constructed fabrics, Conner’s aesthetic is the coy edge that fashion needs.
ESSENCE got a chance to chat with Conner about her start into fashion and what’s next for her brand, Cleair Monroe.
ESSENCE: How did you get into fashion?
Conner: My first step into fashion began at a very young age. My grandma owned a daycare and my friends and I would always play make-believe. Even though we all had the “princess” dresses from the store, she would let us use bedding sheets, paper, markers and all types of glitter to create our dresses from scratch. This is one of the first times I felt I got to express myself, create something, and see it as fashion.
ESSENCE: Did you always want to create your own label?
Conner: I think I always knew it was something I wanted to do. I took a sewing class in high school and the time always seemed like it flew by. I said to myself anything that I do that doesn’t make me look at the clock, is worth doing for a lifetime.
“Naturally black people are creative. We can take anything and make it our own.”- Sky Conner
ESSENCE: What would you say is the biggest challenge about being a young designer?
Conner: Two things are an issue for me.
Budget. I think it’s so hard for me to dumb down my ideas just so I can put out a tangible product for the masses. I also feel like we’re in a very microwave driven society. People get anxiety about wearing something multiple times and that creates an issue when I’m aiming to make timeless pieces that you archive and keep.
The second thing is the lack of knowledge on the difference between boutiques who buy wholesale and mark up the price. It’s frustrating trying to get the consumer to understand the difference especially when it’s in regard to pricing items. This is not to diminish anyone’s business model but it’s concerning that we are all lumped together.
ESSENCE: What’s next for you/your brand?
Conner: Whats next for me and the brand is expansion. I am looking to expand into retail spaces next year and other categories. You will see more of me and more of Cléair Monroe. I have some new things dropping in Spring 2020.