An Interview with the founder and designer of ERA Clothing

Oct. 7, 2014, 6:00 p.m.

The other day Lomita sat down with Elijah Williams ’17 to talk about his clothing line, ERA Clothing, monopolizing on high school trends, fashion advice and the world of blipsters.

Lomita: How did you get into fashion?

Elijah Williams: A friend of mine told me that I suck at dressing. So I just started getting into more thrifting and high fashion stuff and I followed a whole bunch of blogs on Tumblr.

Lomita: So I guess that was constructive criticism.

EW: Yeah, well, I had already started my clothing company at the time and it hurt to know I was designing clothes….


Lomita: Oh, really? That was after your company started? Wait, then we have to go back. How did your company start?

EW: The clothing company started because I joined a computer art class and a couple of friends and I were like, “Hey, we’re really good at this; lets make some money off of it.” So we started creating designs and sending them out to get printed on shirts and then we would bring the shirts to school and sell them to as many people as we could.

Lomita: And people immediately just started buying them? It wasn’t a hard sell?

EW: Nope.

Lomita: What kind of designs were you printing?

EW: It’s urban street wear. A lot of times it’s just a t-shirt with a pretty simple graphic. What sold the shirt was that in high school everything is about trends, so if you have 10 people wearing the same shirt, everyone is going to want to wear the shirt. So we would sell the shirt to 10 people and tell them to all wear it the same day and then that day we’d be able to sell maybe 100 shirts.

Lomita: That is a pretty good business model. Sounds like you’ve got high school kids figured out.

EW: Yup.

Lomita: So where has the company gone since you’re not in that high school setting?

EW: Since then the company isn’t as active anymore, but personally I’ve been designing for the hip-hop dance groups like DV8 and Alliance. I designed the logo for Italic and the logo for this restaurant in Los Vegas and shirts for San Diego county and some bigger companies.

Lomita: What is the vision?

EW: I don’t exactly have a concrete vision. Right now we are designing a breast cancer awareness shirt that will be released next week on our website.

Lomita: If you had to describe your style in two words what would they be?

EW: Um… urban blipster.

Lomita: Blipster? Can you explain?

EW: Black hipster.

Lomita: Oh, cool, I have never heard that term before.

EW: It’s a pretty hipster term.

Lomita: Ok interesting. Where do you shop?

EW: I shop at Asos, Underated Co. which is an online store, H&M, Karmaloop.

Lomita: Do you wear your own shirts?

EW: I try not to; I feel like it’s too much.

Lomita: Have you ever worn your own shirt and had someone ask you where you got it?

EW: Ya definitely. I will be at dance practice and people will ask me where I got my shirt and I’ll casually say, “Actually, I made it.”

Lomita: Have you been very involved in fashion groups here?

EW: Not really. I feel like the fashion communities here are a little particular, and I like to explore a little bit more and look at things outside of what people are just doing right now; so I’ll look at what people were doing in the ’90s or what people are doing in other countries and I’ll get an idea about what’s happening other places and I will let that influence my work.

Lomita: What would you say is your main source of influence?

EW: I look a lot at current African tribal stuff and East Asian tribal stuff and also ancient Indian stuff, so I’ll open a history book and look at what people are wearing and incorporate that.

Lomita: Do you have any style tips to share?

EW: Just have confidence.

Login or create an account