Saida Mouradova, a native of former Soviet Union republic Azerbaijan, had one wish: to design for Beyoncé. Mouradova, who goes by just Saida, creates headpieces designed to “deliver bold, powerful, and artistic experiences.” What she didn’t expect was getting a call from Beyoncé’s team with a request for 22 pieces.
Her team not only wanted those pieces, they wanted double the amount from Saida and her company Object & Dawn. She delivered not really knowing what Beyoncé would be using them for.
When the coronavirus pandemic shifted release dates, Saida was still glad that the legendary performer had seen her work. At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, Beyoncé announced she was releasing “Black is King.” it wasn’t until Saida saw the movie on Disney Plus that she saw her Rushi headpiece worn by Beyoncé.
Saida shared her story, the significance of Beyoncé’s work and being featured in “Black is King” (now streaming on Disney Plus).
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I think for any designer, Beyoncé is top of their design wish list. How did Beyoncé end up using one of your headpieces for “Black is King?”
Every year, I have this intention board, and Beyoncé was on top of that list. Last year, I got a call from her people. They didn’t tell me anything about the project, it was top secret. All I knew was they were shooting in Los Angeles, they wanted 22 pieces and they wanted doubles.
They chose the piece from our original collection. It’s called Rushi and was of the first pieces I had designed. It’s one of our best sellers.
I was under the impression that it was going to be used for backup dancers, but the team called me back and said, “Beyoncé has used this one piece and she’s in the water for it.”
The project was supposed to drop in January, but it never did and I was 100% canceled.
I think that was the mystery, the release date, but then we had the pandemic. She finally posted on her Instagram that it was happening and it was coming out at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.
My mood board became symbolic because of everything that happened with the pandemic. But when she posted that on her Instagram, here was this woman who teaches us to unite with other women and uplifts other women, that was monumental, to be a part of this because she was doing this project against the backdrop of that entire Black Lives Matter movement.
What was it like seeing your work featured in “Black is King” and what did that mean as far as the cultural significance of it?
When the project aired and I started reading all the press about it, I realized it was heavily backed by big brands and designers. But more importantly, there was this team of Black designers involved in the look for the project. I was just one of the handful of non-Black designers. So that made me feel even more special because I felt honored to be part of that. It felt more significant.
What were your favorite segments from “Black is King?”
I love “Water” — it’s where she wears my piece. The message with that was so strong and she’s telling this story about water and how it’s life. That segment with the women honors them. There are these water jugs and it’s a strong message because the women in Africa carry water, without this source of life you cannot exist. It gave me chills.
Visually, I loved the cowhide sequence. It was designed by Burberry and in terms of fashion trends, it’s going to be something we’ll be seeing a lot of next year.
What’s your experience been as a designer and living in America and making your way in the industry?
I come from Azerbaijan and I lived in Europe for a long time. I escaped war when I was a teenager and had briefly lived in a refugee camp. I’ve always been influenced by the influence of Black culture on America.
I lived in New York and was in the fashion community for 20 years and it was very white. When I came to L.A., there’s an entire incredibly creative, super exciting, creative community that is mostly Black. And I was invited to sit at the table right away.
I was shocked that I had never met these creative pockets in America until that moment when I got to meet this community and have access to things that I never had access to.