EXCLUSIVE: SITTING DOWN WITH ALEXANDRA WESTER FOR ZALANDO “ME. UNLIMITED”
This season, Zalando is bringing you its brand new “Me. Unlimited” campaign. By focusing on four diverse, strong and above all else, fashionable women, the campaign will champion the idea that, as Jolanda Smit from Zalando suggests, “each and every single person is absolutely and unapologetically unique”.
The campaign features: musician Beth Ditto, German athlete Alexandra Wester, model and activist Hanne Gaby Odiele and singer Sonia Ben Ammar. By encouraging its consumers to embrace their unlimited ability for self-expression, Zalando announces itself as the premiere fashion destination to actualise one’s individual style and personality.
The campaign is accompanied by interviews with each of the four illustrious women and we are delighted to have an exclusive with Alexandra Wester who dives into her personal style rules, balancing training and downtime and her essential connection to her African roots.
So Alex, how would you describe your off-duty style when you’re not working?
When I’m not working out I really try to dress up, I like to dress feminine, wear high heels. I’m so often in my workout clothes, I have to use the time off.
How does being an athlete influence your everyday style?
It motivates me. It keeps me going in everything including my studies. If my training goes well, I know it’s going to be a hell of a good day.
Why is it important for you to have choice and freedom when it comes to fashion?
In general, it’s important for me to have choice and freedom in everything. I’m a really independent woman, so all the decisions that I make in my life are made by me.
As an athlete, I would think function is most important when it comes to your clothing and your sportswear, but when you’re not training or competing, what is it that you look for in that perfect outfit?
The perfect outfit needs to describe my personality. I am outgoing so I like to wear bright colours. This is just the way I am and it’s reflected through my style.
What’s your advice to those who feel that their body types are misrepresented by the fashion industry?
My advice is to definitely not be distracted by it. Often the fashion industry puts forward the wrong type of women. This can definitely awaken insecurities in ourselves. We should not be distracted by it. Love yourself, love your body. If you don’t love your body, work for your body because you want to love it. If you’re not comfortable in your own skin, you can do something, you can workout. Do it because you love yourself and you want to take care of yourself. Don’t do it because you see a perfect cover image somewhere.
Zalando’s latest campaign champions self-love, inclusivity, and real beauty by putting the consumer in control to create their own style rules on their own terms. So how do you feel in control of your style?
I feel totally in control. You need to create your own style. You should choose the people that you look up to. You should not follow the industry standards. You should not let people make decisions for you.
Are there hard-style rules that you live by and follow? And what would they be?
No. I’m pretty free. If I see something that I like, I will get it. If I like something, I’ll try it on. Though I have to say one thing, I am not particularly fond of the colour pink, I feel like it doesn’t suit me. But every now and again, I try out some pink pieces.
No matter if you’re at the world championships, a festival, a fashion party, is there one thing that’s sort of uniform about your look, except for no pink?
One thing that I always need to have with me is something African because I was born in Gambia, West Africa, and lived there for three years. I like to wear a bracelet or my chain with the cowrie on it. It used to be a tool of money in Africa. I also like to wear earrings, from an artist or from Africa. I always need something African with me.
Well, you quickly established yourself as one of the great young stars of track and field on a global level. What are your goals for this year?
My goal for 2018 is to be open to anything, to any decision that I might have to make or to new training varieties. There is always something new to explore and people are often too fixated on their objectives, which doesn’t help in developing themselves and widening their horizon.
You obviously have a very gruelling schedule as an athlete. How do you switch it up and relax?
With some snacks in the evening on the couch and Netflix. Netflix & chill. Just like almost everyone else does!