Black is King was more than just a visual album: it was an onslaught of fashion, beauty, and style, celebrating the rhythm and flavors of Africa. Every designer involved in helping to create this masterpiece spent months divining looks that would pop on screen, and the process was nothing short of transcendent!
We tapped 5 designers including Tongoro Studio, 5:31 Jerome, Alejandro Collection and more about the process of creating their looks*:
Alejandro of Alejandro Collection writes, “We started months in advance in the creation and masterminding process with the brilliant Zerina Akers. We changed shapes, colors, [and] textures numerous times as the settings, locations and moods changed to be ahead of fashion as Zerina and Beyonce are accustomed to doing. It feels astronomically surreal. My team and I are still processing. My business has exploded and fan base and following keeps growing. Life has changed forever
He added, “The design started when my jewelry designer friend Laurel Dewitt asked me to submit sketches to Zerina as options within the visuals they had in mind. I pushed for the blue lux fabrication, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
“Fun fact the train is 16 feet long.” Wow!
Greek designer Vrettos Vrettakos designed a shimmering, “crystal couture dress, created in collaboration with Swarovski.”
Vrettakos tells us, “We started to prepare the dress 5 months ago. We ordered the materials inspired from the Colors of Africa, [and] embellished the dress with crystal jewel fringes with the same crystals colors. [After] .we made the custom made high boots, totally decorated in Swarovski crystals. [It took] about one month and half to finish.”
“We feel so excited and so passionate because this is not only another project. It’s a master social expression with feelings, thoughts, beliefs…It’s a real story about knowledge, art, fashion, music, [and Beyonce is making history]. All this got life from the genius mind and artist Zerina Akers. I am so grateful to be apart of this multicultural puzzle with amazing and super talented artists from all areas. And this is the hope that the art is a valuable, unstoppable [movement]… A [movement] able to change the world and share the message that yes…. Black is King.”
Deviant la Vie
The designer Deviant la Vie writes, “Last year another designer named Timeekah Murphy from Alani Taylor (@alanitaylorco) and I collaborated on a project called the Zenith experience. It was to showcase our top work at the time. The goal was to take my rope couture and her aesthetic and combine them to create our best work. We both sat in our living room brainstorming and draping a mannequin and came up with 12 pieces. When we designed the white dress, we had Beyonce in mind of course. The hat was the icing on the cake for the look. After the event, we received a call from Zerina’s team and they picked it up.”
“We weren’t sure what it was for but if Zerina calls…you deliver!!! Haha! Timeekah and I are beyond excited! This was our second placement with her as a team. To see the red ropes…the yellow ropes and the white dress in motion is next level! Business is great. This time around we were able to get the credit we were looking to get with both brands.“
Tongoro Studio designer Sarah Diouf writes, “Reviewing the moodboard sent by Zerina Akers, I offered options matching Tongoro’s aesthetic, altering some of Tongoro’s classics such as the NGOR dress, to get a more editorial feel.”
“Our fashion love story with Beyonce started in July 2018, when she first wore our Zanzi set and Dress during her vacation in Italy, followed up with her trip to South Africa and the Lion King “Spirit” video last summer. To be able to see consistency in the use of our designs by an artist of her magnitude is such a blessing for a brand like ours – African – and Made in Africa. To be part of Black is King is even more symbolic and I’m very grateful for Zerina Akers and Beyonce.”
In closing, Diouf writes, “Following the first Beyonce x Tongoro moment, our business and notoriety have grown tremendously. I’m confident that is will only bring more exposure, and financial growth.”
Bomb brand 5:31 Jerome experienced a resurgence with Black is King! Designer Jerome Lamaar says, “The whole process began last year in August for me, when Zerina requested some sketches. Zerina and Beyonce chose which looks from the designs worked best, and it was my job to manifest it into reality!!! The best part was creating this new vision that has not existed before. “
He continues, “I’m humbled that I was granted this opportunity to create something for this very powerful body of work. I revisited my brand after years of not designing to create something special for Beyonce. I am in a different place creatively and this was the perfect opportunity to make something that felt right for me.”
In closing, Lamaar says, “As a man of color, from the Bronx, and self made, it’s important that we acknowledge how powerful this moment is for designers of color after fighting to be noticed. I finally feel this project is a huge shift for designers all around the world. The magic I speak about is the art of being seen….Beyonce , Zerina, KWASI and everyone who worked on this made it happen.”
See all the fashion from Black is King here.
*Answers have been edited for clarity.
Did you miss our previous article…