I want to talk about RIDA!
I always want to shout her name because when I think of Rida she fills me with happy energy, makes me feel bold, brave, confident and like I want to reach through my phone all the way to Birmingham and hug her really hard!
We've never actually met in person but I'm so very drawn to her.
I get the feeling Rida connects (like, actually connects) with a lot of women, every day. She talks about powerful topics in a way that embraces you, pulls you in, helps you to do better and to really engage your brain. Her photography is GORGEOUS (in caps) and she opens my eyes on the daily.
When I start writing a post about someone, I like to jot down words in a big long list- all the words that pop into my head when I hold that person in my mind. Here's my list for Rida...
delicate gorgeous compelling images
music taste YASS
I've looong been an admirer of Rida's work. The images she creates are a visual blend of delicate florals, magic and stardust matched with power, depth and deep meaning. Rida chooses her work partners very carefully and posts fewer images than the average content creator- each is exquisite and perfectly formed.
She's a dream to follow and always shares what's real and close to her heart in the most beautiful way. I sent her over some of our favourite Stalf pieces and asked her to style and photograph them her way.
What Rida wore...
I sent Rida our "My Stalf" questionnaire- her answers were just as evocative as her photography.
Rida, Stalf and #representationmatters...
A little over a month ago I was sat in a daze on my phone watching Insta Stories. It was Saturday morning and a mundane 48 hours stretched ahead.
I came to Rida's stories and was pulled straight out of my daze. Rida always uses her platform to talk about important issues, to spread love and to shed light. This particular Saturday her words stopped me in my tracks.
She was talking about how it is 100% a brand's responsibility, no matter how small they are, to be inclusive in their message. To represent people of all shapes, ages, sizes, backgrounds and diversities, and to be ACTIVE in this. This message was so, so important for me to read that morning. The conversation had started off on the feed of Rida's friend Rabya who had become beyond frustrated by another small, independent brand, Son de Flor, who had ignored WOC urging them to be inclusive in their campaigns and across their platforms. These women sparked a conversation that quickly spread across our online indie fashion world.
Representation matters. It matters right here in our corner of the internet. We need to stop thinking it’s for someone else to address. For someone bigger to address. For someone with more of a budget or a larger team. It’s our responsibility. My responsibility. I wasn't deliberately excluding anyone from our marketing, but that's not good enough. It's this word ACTIVE. We need to be ACTIVE in our inclusion.
When I spoke to Rida on Face Time a few days after that particular weekend, she was emotionally exhausted. Drained by the hard work she'd been doing to support the women of colour around her. Drained by the hours she'd poured into communicating her situation. Drained by the lack of satisfactory response from those she was questioning. Drained by the racial attacks she'd had to bear every time she read her direct messages.
It's easy, so easy for someone like me- white, straight, able-bodied, young- to forget that people who are different to me are under attack daily.
I mentioned to Rida that I was shocked by some of the comments she'd received. She said she wasn't. I've thought on these two very different realities a lot.
I was protected by my privilege and Rida set the wheels in motion for me- she opened my eyes. ♥️
The above piece was taken from Rida's instagram @beforeandagain_
Scroll to see more of Rida's beautiful work featuring our classic Stalf pieces.
All photography taken by Rida Suleri-Johnson.