At the age of fifteen, Saida Muradova, native of Baku, moved together with her family to Europe. The art education in Sweden was ahead, then designer education was in France and the USA, Claire Mccardel Award for the best collection, and afterwards- long years of activity in fashion industry and her own business. However, Saida is not from those, who is satisfied on what is achieved. Today, by residing and working between Los-Angeles and New-York, she has created her own brand and knows exactly: namely, women will change this world. After all, they are able to realize everything!
You received an excellent education. But how much does practice in the New York fashion world differ from basic knowledge?
Parsons is drastically distinguished from the majority of fashion schools. We had incredible loads, no time for a sleep! Twice a week for six hours in succession we drew and then ran to our common program -literature or Photoshop. Every week we were obliged to hand over one collection and 85-year-old Japanese Miss Namiki, our teacher on sewing, introduced techniques and couturier secrets to us. That meant, we sewed everything by hand, starting from jackets up to corsets! There I extracted a vast range of useful knowledge, which seemed unnecessary in the beginning. I am glad, that I received such serious education, however, unfortunately, modern fashion industry works for sales on figures, imitating designs of big brands and for quick turnover. The first two years I worked, as an assistant, my designer's knowledge and lofty matters were not required there at all: I was filling tables, conducting negotiations with factories, examining fabric fibers under a microscope, comparing the color of patches. I was literally forced to learn everything anew. Certainly, I got disappointed: instead of sitting at a computer I was eager to create!
And how did you arrive at the creation of your own brand?
Immediately after college completion, I worked for three years in Banana Republic brand, as a designer's assistant, at least, on ten different categories! That was a vast experience! Then I worked in Ralph Lauren. But after ten years of my activity in the industry I understood, I didn't wish to toil for corporate giants. I saw too much during my active years in large companies, thus I decided to establish everything myself and to start my business from scratch. Substantially immediately after leaving the fashion industry, eight years ago I entered the business market by establishing my first company in the global distribution of American lifestyle brands. Though it became a lucrative business for me and I got full freedom, nevertheless, creativity wasn't achieved! At last, I brought myself to open my own brand "Оbject and Dawn" in July, last year. When I started creating it, one of my priority tasks was to construct an ethics platform for production. Certainly, this is a long process, however, in contrary to cooperating with factories "from third parties of third parties", it allows working directly with people.
Why did you choose design of headwear accessories? Does it go better comparing with other things, or is this meantime in demand, or does it simply reflect your inner world?
My further plans on Оbject and Dawn include also jewellery collection, garments and even a line of accessories for animals. However, for creating my own brand, I started with the most daring challenge, from decorations, which catch the eye and give a person a thought on a number of applications to be found! The persons, following fashion, know that such head accessories we have, slowly but surely win the world, for example, Dolce and Gabbana, during several seasons use gold plated crowns and ear-phones with magnificent patterns in displays.
Currently, many celebrities of music scene act headwear of all levels of luxury and size: Beyonce, Jamiroquai, Grimes, Janelle Monáe... the list may go on endlessly.
Many fashion critics call the last Met Gala, as an apology of headwear. This isn't just a trend, this becomes completely a new direction in fashion!
For the last ten years, the famous festival Burning Man turned into a large event with the participation of more than 70 thousand persons, including the performance of popular actors, display of modern artworks, the arrangement of the fancy-dress parade. And for this measure, as well, as for other festivals, people order special clothes and headwear decorations with a value of several thousand dollars. This is rather big and fast-growing market, however, it lacks variety. Namely, due to this reason, the world of new possibilities is disclosed to me. Not every brand will dare to do this, however, I think, the best way to assert oneself in the market is to throw out a challenge! And it happened the way, I envisaged. The first publication, narrating about us, was displayed in Vogue, then an interview came in online media Racked and representatives of the music scene and large production companies started applying to us. That is simply a dream job! And I continue advancing. To tell the truth, with an aim not to be scared, it is necessary to walk sometimes with eyes shut tight!
One may descry from your blog and pages in social networks, that the topic of female emancipation is not just close to you, but it is considered, as fundamental, reflecting on your creativity. What is your designer's contribution to solidarity movement with women asserting their rights?
It is very pleasant, that women are not afraid of «stepping out of line» anymore, even to look extravagantly. Women began uniting more frequently and new movements, unions, courses, support groups appear! Thus, they can help themselves and each other. This year, 500 more women proposed their candidatures to state positions in the USA, this is a huge advancement against 75 candidatures just several years ago! This tendency will restructure our life imaginations and sooner or later it will impact on the way we get dressed. Fashion always reflects the political situation of the world. Personally, for women, I perceive only positive changes in this. I created my blog even prior to my statement on women's rights, it became a trend. And, I dare say, it became the best trend in my life. However, I consider, it is high time to move from something in mind to something in kind.
And how can women help each other in particular?
I have already mentioned, that one of the main tasks for me was to construct an ethics platform of manufacture: instead of work with factories with low salary and almost absence of any conditions for employees, it is necessary to seek societies, private artists, handicraft masters in those regions, where I would like to establish my own business. We work on a direct basis, the majority of our employees are women! Presently, I am developing my business in India with a group of women, home-workers, where for them possibilities are created to look after their children and, generally to do home-based business. By cooperating with us, in such traditional societies, like Indian one, a woman will be able not only to develop but also to bring income into a family. We help women in such a way, however, in reality, they help themselves! The purpose of this campaign is to develop such relations with women from Asia, Latin America, Africa and even with women from the USA. Certainly, I have a dream to establish one of the main lines in Azerbaijan. But it will be more time requiring. I always strive to work, namely, by assisting societies, groups, individual talented persons to set up their manufacture, based not on trends, but on quality and respect of old techniques and elaborations.
Which qualities, in your opinion, does a woman need to become competitive in the market of the modern fashion industry?
First of all, a woman shouldn't consider herself, as «a woman in business», independent of the industry! This is a spiritual tripping, constantly obstructing someone's advancement. This is one of the most painful problems of the modern society. In many countries a woman still feels confined within frames of roles, she "is obliged" to execute due to some reasons. Such frames prevent personality's development. The option should be available in everything! In my opinion, at the present stage, the most important qualities in the fashion industry are fearlessness of self-expression and knowledge of marketing. If earlier even the most talented designer had to beseech mass media and contact persons, presently, we have all platforms and all possibilities for triumphant bringing of the collection to the public in the shortest period. The main thing is to have fearlessness and knowledge. Internet and social networks allowed us self-branding and today every person can construct his/her own brand if he/she wishes and if he/she has the right information. Certainly, time will be required for workshops, courses, for activity in the corresponding industry, however, I presume, without hard work, it is quite difficult to achieve something not only in the fashion world but in the modern world.
And as for fashion world, do you think that cardinal changes are possible in favor of the fair sex? Or is this a distant prospect?
"Fair sex" is another out-of-date label, which only prevents augmented cognition! People frequently delay their own development, as they are attached to restricting labels such, as «a woman should be modest, gentle, should have a family and the main thing should have children...» and so on and so forth, everything depends on the place of residence. We grow up with these conceptions, we inherit them from our diapers, pink dresses, and Barbie dolls! I assume this is one of the most obsessed conceptions, to be changed by women. It is necessary to get rid of these patterns: the woman is to regard herself not, as the weaker, but the stronger sex, as equal to any other one, and not only as the "fair" one. Only now, five months of my pregnancy, I have understood, to what extent we, women are physically strong! If we are able working in such a state, just, as if nothing had happened, then why are we considered, as the "weaker sex"? This is not to say any competition with men, any acquiring of certain men's qualities. This means absolutely different- to look for her place in the world without restrictions, without imposed patterns! I consider both sexes, as fine sexes. However, I consider that we, women, are genuinely able finding ourselves, only if we get rid of labels.
Launching of your last collection of accessories coincides with the run of a new site. Tell me, please, about this more in detail.
My brand's idea and its peculiarity are that all accessories in it are of block-modular execution. It means each accessory is a transformer! Details of accessories or systems, as we call them, may be carried, as jointly, so individually. Depending on mood and situation each system may be assembled to full or dismantled to a minimum. Thus one accessory executes, kind of, several functions, its owner –is a designer himself! Having several versions of one accessory, you may assemble them in any configuration.
By the way, my accessories are neutral from gender viewpoint, I don't create them specifically for any certain sex: anyone, independent of sex, may construct for himself/herself any model according to his/her own unique taste. In contrary to my taste, I create qualitative decorations to serve for years and clearly reflect the individuality of his/her owner, for me this is permanent, one of the main tasks. My accessories allow everyone displaying unique features. After all, in reality, all of us frequently lack individuality!
I hope much, that we shall be able clearly demonstrating all the possibilities of each our product in a new site www.objectanddawn.com. This process will take additionally two months, as I have never come across this idea, so we have to think over different versions of the presentation and this is a time-consuming process. I can hardly wait to display of decoration collection for the body, developed for summer! This retrieves me to my above-mentioned statement: women have become more courageous in style. And now, it is just, a matter of time - when we start carrying bright decorations, as on our head, so on our body, similarly was repeated in the history of humanity.
INTERVIEW: KSENIA ELKIND PHOTO: ALLAN AMATO