pera may

Interview with Pera May: “The fashion industry is ready for change”

Launching her eponymous brand right after London Fashion Week, Pera May is a lady to watch. With her first show, titled Collection One, May asks us to slow down. May forces us to look at pain points like today’s consumerism, global warming and our overall behavior. “There’s too much bullshit going on. We need to focus on obtainable truth not an unreachable perfection.

Cover photo: © Oxford Fashion Studio

Pera May

Growing up in an artistic family environment, creativity has always been a central part of Pera May’s life. All kinds of creativity were celebrated and accepted. It doesn’t come at surprise that May ended up being a fashion designer. Since a young age, she’s learned how creativity can express things words can’t. In line with this, she answered our first question (about her main source of inspiration) with a poem:

In a world where everything is hot for a minute
We lie, and we falsify just to stay in it.
Knock knock who’s there, social media and materialism uniting
When really it’s global warming and insecurity we should be fighting.
You can love who you want as long as everyone approves,
Ugh its sosighity, so bullshit, fake news.
When your screen time is higher than the average IQ
money is no more important than the size of your shoe.
Don’t follow the herd like the rats followed the piper,
Be clever, you is better, you are your own play writer.
If we showed a little kindness and gave more than we took,
We’d be surprised at how much better things look.
But alas’ nothing is lost, the power is within,
All that it takes is to display a little grin.
Human needs must but try not to be greedy,
Follow @peramay if you ever need me.

Pera May
© Oxford Fashion Studio, Pera May

Needless to say, Pera May is a woman with an opinion. With her brand, she shares this opinion through collections with a deeper meaning. “Life can be very hard at times, it’s important to practice and live by kindness, equality, creativity and freedom! Society or ‘sosighity’ as we called it creates a generalization of ideal perfection and it’s unobtainable. We’re in an age where many things are becoming socially accepted by the masses, a woke time as we call it. However, it’s a slow process.

“Society or ‘sosighity’ as we called it creates a generalization of ideal perfection and it’s unobtainable.”

Sweeping things under the mat

In real life, Pera May likes to keep things real. With her key print, ‘Nothing to see here’, she portrays the concept of sweeping things under the mat, pretending they aren’t happening. “This needs to change – people matter, the world matters!” Take, for example, global warming. It’s another prime sweep it under the mat example to May. “The ‘its not happening if we ignore it mentality’ can’t longer sustain.

pera may
© Oxford Fashion Studio, Pera May

Therefore Pera May portrays conceptual clothing that’s sustainable, and created in a way that provides ‘tongue in cheek humor’ to look at these issues. “I’m inspired by humans, the planet – all things that make this world work and all things that don’t. I’m inspired to make this world a better place through fashion as a medium, but I’m going to do it with humor. We could all do with a laugh from time to time, nothing should ever be too serious!

Meaning of fashion

With such a strong opinion about the world we live in, Pera May must have some role models. “My role models are my Mother, Grandmother and late Grandfather. A power house team, that have moulded me in to an ambitious, creative and inquisitive person. They taught me that nothing is impossible, and that everything has a beauty to it. They are my idols.” Now everything falls into place.

“Fashion is a medium that can create change, conversation, culture and an appreciation for beauty through all forms.”

Pera May
© Oxford Fashion Studio, Pera May

When we ask May about the true meaning of fashion, she does’t have an unambiguous answer. “Great question, fashion means so many things to me personally. It is the one thing in the world that I can have full control over. I choose how I present myself and it describes who I am without even having to speak. It’s an expression of my personality and my creativity. But it’s so much more than that – it’s a wearable art form, the messages and the purpose behind the skill is immense. It’s a medium that can create change, conversation, culture and an appreciation for beauty through all forms. Fashion is diverse, it’s exciting, it’s expressive, it gives the wearer confidence and empowerment. It’s vital to my being – and I hope I can give others that feeling and opportunity through my work.

At last, we’re wondering what the future of this strong lady will look like. “I see myself running an international brand. A brand that’s kind, creative, exciting, inclusive and most importantly sustainable – the fashion industry is ready for change.

Oxford Fashion Studio

Eitan Broude is part of Oxford Fashion Studio (OFS), which puts independent fashion designers on the map. According to OFS, these independent designers have an important and integer story to tell, deserving international exposure. As a singular collective, Oxford Fashion Studio is the only organization showcasing independent design talent in every fashion capital in the world.

In this Oxford Fashion Studio series, we shed light on several independent designers to share their story. In this way we support them to flourish internationally.

Keep watch for this multi layered empire, the limits are endless for Pera May the brand. Follow Pera May on Instagram.

Looking for more creative minds who create fashion with a mission? Then check out our interview with Gessica Collective’s designer Shenali Gunaratne as well.

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