Published: 12th January 2021
This Kerala clothing brand has something for everyone's style preferences, regardless of gender, shape or size
Era was designed with the hope to create a more inclusive and representative space where people do not need to feel restricted in the way they present themselves
There was a pretty straightforward vision in their minds when Jijo Kuriakose and Ajmal S created a clothing label. Named Era, the idea was to take gender out of fabric and misconceptions out of fashion. Jijo, an artist and Ajmal, a designer, decided to unite their creative ambitions to craft a fashion line that has enough space for pretty much every identity and body shape. Officially launched on December 17, the line of clothing features a unique variety of clothes that would appeal to anyone.
"Era is not aimed exclusively at the queer community," says Jijo, "We are both openly gay individuals who decided to collaborate together. When we launched, we wanted this to be an inclusive and diverse space. And I mean this whether it comes to fashion, the media or politics. We wanted to represent diversity across gender, sexuality and body sizes. We also wanted to include articles of clothing that are outside the mainstream fashion scene. Unfortunately, Corona limited how much we could reach out to people, but we tried to represent as many people as we could."
The models for the launch included Adarsh Mohanan, Advocate Maya Krishnan, Advocate Ferha Azeez, Amna Plinku, Anand Ampeethara , Arya M, Indhuja Prakash, Qanishqah Paul, Sidharth and Younas Mariyam
Their idea of representation began with the models that were a part of the brand's launch — where they worked to rope in models who were overlooked in the fashion industry. Ajmal and Jijo intend to use their brand as a platform where individuals in the modeling industry who have not had the opportunity to be represented due to their gender and sexual identity or physical appearance can finally get the opportunity to practice their art and take a step forward in their careers. Jijo explains, "Representation is not ours to give. We are just opening up avenues for people to come and use."
He continues, "Cotton or silk doesn't have a gender. Materials are just materials. It's society that assigns gender to everything. If we can break these ideas, we can degender materials. Our intention is not to make LGBTQIA people wear gender-neutral clothing. I myself used to have to choose materials for my shirts from the ladies section because options were so limited for men. We are not trying to label any piece of clothing, we are offering options to everyone. You don't have to wear it with the intention of supporting diversity, it could be merely a style choice. And you don't even need to use it in your daily life. We're just saying that if you want to wear it or express it, that's your constitutional freedom. Take it!"