A GLAM SLAM TALKS CITIZEN, STYLE & FASHION DESIGN COMPETITION WITH VICTORIA AZARENKA
In time for the US Open, Citizen Watch Company designed a special timepiece for Victoria Azarenka. The tennis champ has been an ambassador for the brand since 2012. The new watch is part of the company’s Ecosphere collection, a fashion-forward line that will first debut this fall.
The Victoria Azarenka Limited Edition Ecosphere features a rose gold-tone stainless steel case with white silicone strap and white dial, as well as Citizen Eco-Drive’s light-powered technology. The watch retails for $495 and is available here.
Vika is among the WTA stars with an off-court interest in fashion. To coincide with the introduction of the watch, she held a fashion design competition with the students at the High School of Fashion Industries in New York. Participants were asked to create an outfit to reflect her personal style and coordinate with her newest Citizen timepiece. She collaborated with the students as they developed their ideas, sketched their visions and chose their fabrics. The winner of the competition received the new watch as well as an educational scholarship from Citizen. All of the students’ ensembles were featured on Good Day NY, where the winner was chosen:
A Glam Slam caught up with Vika to discuss her Citizen watch, the design competition, her style on and off-the court, and the upcoming US Open.
Can you talk about your newest Citizen Watch. Did you have any input in the design process?
With this particular watch, we had a lot of meetings and I wanted to create something that would really show kind of a different side of me because most people just see me on the court. The sport is the biggest part of my life and most what I’m known for as a tennis player. But I also wanted to bring the classiness to it with a little bit of edge because I like to push the boundaries a little bit. This collaboration with a watch company and fashion and sport is so incredible just because time and timing is important in sports. With tennis in particular, we have so much room for fashion, it’s really easy to incorporate that. So for me, it was a no brainer to do this kind of stuff.
As far as the collaboration with the High School of Fashion Industries students, were there specific factors/creative elements that you were looking for in a design?
We had a lot of meetings about it. It started from brainstorming and throwing the inspiration, the ideas, the images of the things that I like, because I’m particular with what I like. We started with that and then we had some sketches and I was trying to give my best feedback, but I wanted them to create what they think, because I really wanted to see that passion and the drive from the girls because they are going to this school. But I also wanted to be really specific with some of the ideas and some details that I felt would represent the brand and my style the best. There was a great exchange of conversations and they’re really talented girls. They really took all the notes but they still brought their own thing and that’s what I always encourage. I want a person to take criticism and take feedback but still be who they are.
What made you choose the winning design? What was it about that outfit that you liked most?
It was tough because they’re all so talented and the designs were very different. I thought the design really fit the best with the watch and that’s what the collaboration was all about. If I were choosing to go maybe to a picnic or Central Park, I would choose the romper. It has their own feeling to it, every outfit.
How would you describe your personal style off-the-court?
In general I would say it’s classic with edge because I really like bold colors. I really like classic black, white, solid colors with a pop with the details, where you get a fine cut or a bright accessory. I like that wow factor, but not too much of it.
What would you say is your fashion weakness (shoes, handbags, etc)?
I love shoes definitely. I love jackets. Leather jackets especially.
When it comes to on-court apparel, tennis is a sport where fashion plays an integral role. Do you contribute ideas when it comes to developing your competitive Nike designs?
Sometimes yes. Sometimes there’s a little less freedom in a way because they have a better idea and they design way ahead of time. They know what’s going to be trending, what kind of new material to come up with, so when you’re not so into that world, it’s also educational for you. I do love to give my best input and we do the fittings and everything. I think my signature style is sporty and I love shorts. I love to wear shorts and I was inspired actually by Anna Kournikova, who is a friend of mine. That’s kind of my fashion statement in the sport, I love wearing shorts and I’m going to be wearing them at the US Open.
Many athletes have ventured into the fashion business with their own clothing and accessory lines. Is that a path you would consider taking in the future?
I’m not sure, I’m definitely a very artsy person and my mom is a fashion designer. She would remake all of my clothes. I definitely have that stuff in me and I would probably do something with her, but my idea of what I want to do after is something more of this kind of stuff. I want to create an opportunity for people to do what they want to do, I love charity work, I love to have a business that makes a big difference in the world.
The US Open often overlaps with fashion week in New York. You’ve had the opportunity to walk down the runway for shows. Would you say that experience is more or less nerve-wracking than playing in a tournament like the US Open?
Hands down it was more nerve-wracking to walk the runway. You don’t realize unless you’re in that business, what it’s like. I was thinking, tennis is just so much easier, it’s crazy. How hard the girls work there is just fascinating. The whole time I was thinking please don’t fall. I had these giant shoes and the dress and the cameras. But it was an amazing experience just to be in that world, it was really fascinating and I really have so much more respect once you see the behind-the-scenes, the work that goes into making a show.
You’ve been sidelined with an injury. Are you ready to be back at the US Open?
I’m getting there, every day is preparation but I feel ready. I’m going to be out there giving my best, that’s for sure.