Q+A with Claire Rose Cliteur
Widely known for her timeless street style and dreamy images from around the globe, Claire has grown a formidable and highly engaged audience over the years. Her timeless aesthetic puts a focus on mixing classic pieces with effortless aplomb and an impeccable attention to detail. We sat down to discuss everything from her sunglasses obsession to what drives her each day and perhaps glean a few of the secrets behind her entrepreneurial success along the way.
What inspired you to design sunglasses with APERÇU?
Ever since I was a kid, I have had an obsession with sunglasses. I visited an endless number of vintage markets around the world to collect unique pairs. For the longest time, I have been wanting to design my own and when I finally got the opportunity to design together with Aperçu, I knew exactly what I had in mind: an elevated rectangle and a shape that is versatile, in beautiful classic shades, that I personally have been searching for. The design of the sunglasses is a mix of all the sunglasses I own. Not too sharp and not too round.
What role do sunglasses play in your wardrobe and styling each day?
Those who know me probably notice that I always have my sunglasses with me. Either on my head, in my hair, in my bag or hanging on my top. I don't leave the house without sunglasses! It's the finishing touch for every look.
How did your sunnies silhouette come about? Tell us about your design process.
We have been working so hard to get the shape just right - it's feminine and masculine at the same. I've learned so much from this process; I never knew that so many tiny details can make such a big difference to the end result. The lens was one of the hardest aspects of the design process, because I wanted to have it just perfect.
Tell us about the color palette and any other details that have special significance for you.
As the design of the sunnies is very classic and timeless, I wanted to play around with the shades to make them a bit more playful. The shades are named after my favorite cities.
When/how did you get into the fashion industry?
Since I was very little, I’ve had issues with my hearing. That pressured me to express myself in creative ways and got me interested in the visual art of apparel curation. I always used to ask family members to take photos of my outfits, and it has always been my dream to become a fashion designer. I started doing courses at London College of Fashion and got intrigued by the marketing aspect of it all. I studied at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and did an internship for a suit company in New York. Eventually I realized that I wanted to be self-employed. Ever since, I do what I do and I’m very grateful for being able to do what I enjoy most.
When/how did you get into the social media space?
I did a minor 'Inspiring Leadership' during my studies a few years ago and started posting my photos on Instagram, in a very low key setting. Back then, the OG girls mostly posted street style images. I think a lot of people were able to relate to my online aesthetic, and I started growing my following rapidly. I asked my best friend if I should give ‘full time’ social media a shot, and he convinced me to go for it.
Your personal style is incredibly chic and timeless. How did your aesthetic develop and what/who are your main influences?
I think my mom influenced me the most. Her style has always been the same over the years. When I started in my early twenties, I still wanted to try a lot of different styles. The pandemic made me put things in perspective and I came to the conclusion that less is more. Since then, I invest in timeless pieces that make me feel good.
What do you feel are the fundamental ‘secrets of your success’ so far?
I think my endless optimism brought me to where I am today. I never give up and I always think in solutions. Another key one is: don’t forget to enjoy your journey while chasing your goals.
What aspects of your career do you find most rewarding right now?
I enjoy co-design projects like this one a lot. Working from scratch; from ideas, designing, sourcing materials, shooting the product and eventually seeing my community enjoying the end result and styling it in their own way, this makes me feel so extremely proud!
What aspects do you find more challenging?
Being ‘on’ 24/7 – even when I’m not on my phone or behind my laptop. I always think about the need to be creative, especially when I'm exploring new places. I do manage this much better than I did before, though. I feel that I’ve now found a healthy balance between work and ‘off’ time.
What is it about the fashion industry and/or social media that motivates and excites you right now?
I always enjoy finding new upcoming designers, seeing their vision come to life in their collections, and seeing their brands amplified on social media.
Do you have any enduring mantras or ‘words to live by’ that you try to convey to your audience?
Think in solutions - problems are there to be solved.
Is there anything professionally (or otherwise!) that you haven’t done yet and frankly it scares you a bit to give it a shot?
There are so many things that I still want to try, both professionally and in my private life. I am always eager to learn. I am not scared of anything in particular. When I was younger, I used to be scared of public speaking, but practice makes perfect as they say. It gave me the biggest anxiety, but when I overcame my fear it was extremely rewarding and it gave me such a boost of energy.
Anything or anyone particularly inspiring you this season?
This season, I invested a lot in charcoal, navy and chocolate browns, from knits to accessories. I was hunting for sunglasses to combine with these fall shades. I’m very glad I got the opportunity to design with Aperçu because the sunnies match all of my favorite pieces this season!
What ‘must-have’ piece or products do you always travel with?
Sunglasses and lipstick, always.
What destination is next in your travel plans?
As September is fashion month, I’ll be doing lots of traveling across Europe. After that, I’ll be enjoying some quality time with my husband in a sunny location!
What are you currently reading?
I just started '101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think' - Brianna Wiest.
What item(s) are on the top of your Fall ‘22 wardrobe wish list?
A dark chocolate brown every day bag has been on my list since last year, to combine with all my new sunnies.
Lastly, do you have any advice for other female entrepreneurs?
Never take 'no' for an answer. Work hard, stay true to yourself and never give up on your dreams.