photo by Michael Thompson for Jedroot

alek wek 1933
The Legacy Continues...

by Uduak Oduok

In 1995, now-27-year-old Sudanese born Supermodel Alek Wek revolutionized the fashion world when she first emerged on the fashion scene. Her look was so unique it defied the western notion of the "ideal image" of beauty.

Since then, Alek has graced numerous runways around the globe, appeared in various fashion magazines, received numerous awards as a fashion model and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2002, Alek continued her legacy of success with the launch of her one-of a-kind hand bag line, Wek 1933 Ltd .   Today, her bags are in demand both nationally and internationally.

Inspired by everyday life including her travels to Europe and Africa, her friends and business associates attest to her commitment to the process of making each bag. They say she gives detailed attention to each piece a nd the result is reflected through the comfort and practicality of her bags.

Her life is spent modeling, creating handbags and donating her efforts to both charitable and humanitarian causes.   Alek granted an exclusive interview to TD INK to give us the 411 on her handbag line, Wek 1933 Ltd.   

Hi Alek, it's great to reacquaint with you!   Thanks to your publicist Andrea Cauthen and your manager at IMG, Maja Edmonston, for making our interview a reality.

AW: Thank you.

Well, as you know, you are a beautiful woman, very confident, down to earth and charming.

AW: Thank you.

Most of our readers are familiar with your face but not necessarily your fashion background. Could you briefly tell us how you started modeling?

AW: I got discovered seven years ago, in a street fair in a park, in London with different activities, and so forth, on a weekend where you go hang out with a friend. . .   a very young lady, at the time, approached me and said, "Would you like to model"?   I thought she was absolutely out of her mind.

But I, of course, asked her if she was kidding and she was like, "no, I'm serious, you should come in." And you know, it's kind of like curiosity at first and then it hits you like 'oh, okay!' So, it is real. But, is it going to really happen? So, a year later I was like I really need to go make up my mind if I am really going to do this. But, you know, here I am seven years later.

It sounds exciting! Congratulations on your success. Who are some of the fashion clients you've modeled for?

AW: Gucci, Fendi, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen and Halston to name a few. I have also done advertising campaigns in Vogue and Elle Magazines.

So, what motivated you to start your fashion line, Wek 1933 Ltd.?

AW: Well, it kind of started from really something that I loved doing which is painting. That's something I always did since I was young; painting bags, articles. . .    There are nine of us and my father . . . raised us as each individual and for me art has always kept me focused and so forth.

So, as I kind of moved to New York in '96 and started to work and travel of course constantly, art wasn't so much really happening and to me I just really never painted, you know kind of taking it easy and I missed that very much. And that's why I got back into it again about four or five years ago.  

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