Growing up as queer kids in Indian middle-class families wasn’t easy for Syed and Utkarsh, from traumatic high school experiences to dealing with problematic family members & relatives. Becoming financially independent was extremely important in their quest to build a life where they could truly be themselves. While they tried to work jobs, not only did they not provide them with the freedom and satisfaction they wanted, they were not always inclusive. So they decided to use all their savings and start something that inspired and empowered people like them.
Self-expression, they say, is an integral part of human existence. Having never found the right kind of saucy, bold, and expressive clothing & accessories that helped them express themselves freely, they decided to change that. “We channeled all those years of frustration and create accessories that are queer, expressive and help people be their unapologetic selves,” says Utkarsh, before adding, At Cosmic Jalebi, we aspire to build a community of people where everybody celebrates each other’s differences and be their unapologetic/authentic selves without any fear of judgment.”
Being queer and in business, they say, is the best thing that happened to them. “It gives us the freedom to do things our way; if we want to feature visibly queer people on our campaigns, we don’t need any cishet person’s approval. We have the power to not only inspire the people of our community through our story but also empower them by providing them with employment and other opportunities. Being a queer business feels like a superpower. It feels like we’re finally on our way to be in a position, where we can create an impact in people’s lives and make this world a better place,” shares Utkarsh.
Instead of asking corporations and the government for acceptance, inclusivity, or employment, Utkarsh believes it is time for people from the community to join forces and show cishet corporations how things are done. “We want to set an example by building a successful and huge business where everyone feels empowered to be their true selves regardless of their difference, where inclusivity and diversity is not just a ‘Pride Month’ campaign but a core value, where everyone is treated with love, respect, and dignity.
We feel that doing all of this is going to create a lasting impact and it’s also going to force corporations to learn and evolve,” he adds.
Where to shop from? Cosmic Jalebi website
Written By Krupa Joseph