BEAUTY/HAIR/FASHION Brand Builders On The Rise Travel

How one Black-owned swimwear line is representing diversity and creating opportunities for women of color

“When it comes to Clem Swimwear and what we represent, it’s definitely a brand that is Black-owned and that we are screaming from the rooftop.”

 

Photographer- Alessandra Fiorini @Alessandrafioriniphotography

#OnTheRise

#ChangeTheNarrative

When there is no opportunity, you create one…that’s the story of our people. 

Summer is here and for the first time in a long time, beaches aren’t the trending activity. Due to COVID-19, our normal outdoor activities have been cut down to socially distant ones.

But it’s not stopping us from stacking up for next year’s summer, supporting Black-owned businesses, and celebrating their milestones.

J’Lysa Wilson, 26, recently celebrated a major accomplishment on her goals list. As the founder of Clem Swimwear, she just secured her first store placement at an exclusive boutique in the Hamptons.

Named after her late aunt who inspired her to get into the fashion industry, Wilson started Clem Swimwear.

Growing up in Florida, Wilson always had problems finding the perfect bathing suit for her figure.

“You’re going to a family BBQ and you want to be in a nice swimsuit, but you don’t want it to be too revealing,” the Boynton Beach, FL native says.  “Or you want support in the bust. That was really my main issue, finding swimwear with really great support for busts.”

As she got older, she came across friends with the same problem.

“I always want a woman to feel very comfortable and very supported, even though she is showing a lot of skin,” she says.

Although the line is for women of all shapes and sizes, Wilson says she specifically wanted to target women of color she felt were underrepresented when it came to swimwear.

“When it comes to Clem Swimwear and what we represent, it’s definitely a brand that is Black-owned and that we are screaming from the rooftop.”

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Wilson intended to launch Clem Swimwear ten years from now, but lack of opportunity sped up that plan.

“I started because I couldn’t find a job in the fashion industry and the corporate world. I wasn’t given the same opportunity as my other peers of other races.”

“I always want a woman to feel very comfortable and very supported, even though she is showing a lot of skin,”

Founder, J’lysa Wilson

Representation and opportunity are important to Wilson. Unlike most fashion companies who may hire the runway models to promote their clothes, she uses herself as the base model for all of her designs.

“We definitely try to cast people that look like us and when we hire it will be the same.”

In light of the global protesting against police brutality and racial injustice of African Americans, there has been a renewed movement to support our Black-owned businesses more than ever. It’s a movement that Wilson considers a blessing and a curse.

“The curse, of course, will be the people (Black people) whose lives were lost. This is more than George Floyd and Breonna Taylor,” she says, “this has been happening for years. Now people, aside from our race, are actually seeing this.”

She went on, “It’s (#BlackLivesMatter movement ) catapulted Black businesses and I am very thankful for that. I’m thankful for us to finally be getting the recognition that we deserve.”

What makes J’lysa a Royal Woman?

“I think what makes me a Royal Woman is being humble. I don’t ever want to change in that aspect. But I think what really makes me, me is never forgetting to say, ‘thank you’.

Clem Swimwear is based out of New York City. Long-term goals including expanding the line into a global brand. In the meantime, you can find her two-pieces at The Shop curated by Tarin Thomas at the Montauk Beach House Hotel in the Hamptons.

Or you order Clem Swimwear online here.

We have more with J’Lysa Wilson in our upcoming summer edition, slated to be released later this month.