Era of Artists is a modern apparel line that takes elements of pop culture and turns them into bold graphics for your everyday wear. The seventeen year old founder and head designer, Olivia Ojeda (OO), keeps Era of Artists on trend, affordable, and inclusive to people worldwide. Today she speaks with us about the origins of the brand, her philosophy on self love in fashion, and where they’re headed next.
Tell us how Era of Artists, formerly known as Olivia Rose Inc., started. Where did it all begin?
OO — Well, it all started off in May of 2012. I had just gotten my first iPhone and at that time, there weren’t all of the interesting and unique phone cases that there are today. My dad had always owned his own business while I was growing up, so I already had that mindset and at that time I saw a niche that needed filling and I decided to be the one to fill it. I started decorating phone cases and set up an Instagram for my company at the end of the month. After that I started working with popular Instagram accounts for brand exposure and took orders from there until I set up a site for people to buy from. From there, I got into graphic tees which is what the brand focuses on more now more than anything, and eventually changed the brand name to something more memorable and fulfilling rather than my own name.
What does the name Era of Artists mean to you?
OO — It honestly means so many things, but the main influence behind the name would be that I know so many artists, including myself, that have been told they need a “real” job, or who’ve been ripped off by people not taking their jobs seriously because they’re just “artists”. It means that in this day and age, art isn’t something that should be looked over by people because artists honestly run the economy. That this truly is the era of artists and that our passions and talents shouldn’t be overlooked or thought of any differently than anyone else’s.
Is EOA a full on family collaboration or does each person have a specific role? Give us a snapshot of the mechanics that make EOA.
OO — Each person definitely has a specific role, but sometimes the roles do overlap depending on who needs what. My dad prints the shirts, my mom takes care of inventory and shipping, and I design, work on marketing, social media, brand exposure and other creative details within the company.
As EOA is such a work of love for you and your family. How do you see the business growing in 2017?
OO — Hopefully exponentially! So much has changed in this past year alone that I never imagined happening, so I couldn’t guess where it’ll be this time next year. Honestly if the business just continues growing on the route it’s on, I’d be more than happy.
The thing I admire most about EOA is that you offer an extensive range of sizes which makes your line inclusive to so many women. This is so important and I’m glad you celebrate body diversity. Tell me more about your mission to promote self love and happiness.
OO — I just think self love is so healthy and imperative! I don’t think anyone should be looked at differently no matter their size, skin tone, sexuality or anything else. If taking the time to add a few more size options to my products is the difference between making someone feel inadequate or happy with their body, then I’m going to add the sizes because there’s no reason for anyone to not feel comfortable in their own skin.
In your mission statement, you mention that your designs are “geared towards opinions on society and things [you] wholeheartedly believe in”. How do you use this motto in your design process?
OO — I’ve only recently begun doing designs that mean a lot more to me than just what’s “trending” and I have so many more to come, but I just think about what resonates with me most. I obviously know not everyone will agree with me, but I want my future designs to affect people in some way. My design process is never definite, so the inspiration for designs usually comes when I’m just living my life, so it’s a lot easier to incorporate my opinions when they’re authentic and not forced for the sake of the design process.
If you could design and produce a product that is reflective of pop culture right now, at this moment, what would it be?
OO — A shirt that said “God help the 2016 election”.
Aside from design, who are your style inspirations?
OO — David Bowie has always been a huge style inspiration of mine. He’s never afraid to make a statement and just do as he wants. The man was way ahead of his time. As for modern day style inspiration, Kanye and Rihanna are honestly favorites of mine along with some stuff Victoria Beckham does.
What is your ultimate dream for EOA?
OO — The ultimate dream for EOA would to hopefully get to the point where I can start scholarships for art students. That’s like ultimate, ultimate goal though. Even if I was only able to help one person achieve their dream, I think that’d be pretty cool. Having the brand become a household name is also an ultimate goal of mine too.
Olivia, you were such a joy to talk with and photograph. You’re so positive and passionate about Era of Artists and you have so many great things coming. Thank you for sharing your story with us! Anything you wish to tell your future buyers, collaborators, and artists?
OO — Thank you so much! It was amazing working with you as well. Honestly, I probably say this too much, but your mentality really is your reality. I heavily believe in the Law of Attraction, so making sure that what you͛re putting out there is making you happy and not harming people or anyone around you is essential. Don’t settle for anything less than your happiness.