25 Oct 2019

Talking Freedom, Boundaries and Social Status with Sarah Dimani

In 2019, we Europeans consider the subject freedom to be the most logical thing in history. However, it hasn’t even been a century since people started taking this topic more or less seriously. Even now, the idea of being free is often misunderstood. One more reason for Zalando to focus on the matter with their ‘Free to be’ philosophy.

The Power to Be as One Wants

What does freedom mean? According to the dictionary, it’s “the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants”. Zalando adds an extra layer by highlighting the aspect of being. With this the European e-commerce company aims to question stereotypes and classic gender patterns.

To support their philosophy, Zalando casted a crew of real people who aren’t afraid to show the world their true selves and who express their identity through fashion. One of the inspiring personalities is influencer Sarah Dimani. She‘s an independent Belgian woman of Moroccan descent who’s all about authenticity and fighting prejudices.

For this ‘Free to be’ editorial we got the chance to show another side of Sarah, who generally masters modest fashion in the most stylish way. With all pieces from Zalando, ENFNTS TERRIBLES created several looks to explore the idea of being free. Besides that, we had a little chat with her about liberty, setting boundaries and her role as an influencer.

Polo Ralph Lauren shirt. Margiela dress.

The world has become much more open-minded. However, as we mentioned in the introduction, there is still some work to do. What would you still like to change?

Being open-minded is one thing, but unfortunately there are bigger problems in this world that need to be highlighted, supported and solved asap. Starting with solving the world problems such as war, famine, poverty, slavery, genocides, oppression across the globe. My heart always goes out to those in need and especially those who lack primary needs. I believe they are the ones who need help first.

Secondly, as you might know I’m a big advocate of equal rights, diversity and I stand up for minority groups. Those who live in the West, especially POC, experience a hard time facing inequality, racism and hit the glass ceiling. I wish I could change the way the system works; I would love to live in a world where people are accepted as an individual with strengths and skills instead of being punished for their differences… Our world is rapidly changing, especially with social media and we should be more aware about this new culture we’re living in. Also, more attention needs to go to mental health and fixing the gender gap!

How do you see fashion as a way to express yourself? Is this an important tool for you?

Fashion has played a big role in my own development and growth. It was a tool that helped me with finding myself and shaped my character and authenticity. I think a lot of people are having a superficial view on fashion and limit its essence to ‘looking pretty’ for others. For me there’s a deeper meaning. I see it as a big denominator including smaller subjects that can be added value in shaping yourself. So yes a very important tool!

Do you see yourself as a role model? How do you use your social media as a role model? Was this your intention when you started with your Instagram account?

Let’s start with breaking down being a blogger or influencer never was my intention. At that time, I was 19 and just as every other teenager, I started sharing things because ‘eVerYonNe dID iT’. So, during my studies I kinda discovered and experimented with fashion and before I knew it my following became bigger. I never saw myself as a role model and now I really have a hard time accepting it. I know that people really want to push that responsibility on me, but I rather see myself as a big sister who shares some inspiration and talks about topics that need to be highlighted more.

After all, I’m still a human being, I’m still young and experimenting with my own life and that includes failures too. So being a ‘role model’ is way too big of a responsibility that I don’t want to carry and rather don’t want to be directed by someone else.

You recently decided to no longer wear a headscarf. What did you think about the fact that certain media used your story to open the discussion about headscarves? 

I think it’s sad how the media tries to use and misuse personal stories of individuals, like me, for their own greater goal. I feel that the media clearly has lost sight of its goal, there is no attention for someone’s privacy, mental health or let alone private life and/or boundaries. FYI, I kindly declined every interview proposal back then because, as we all know, the media takes its own narrative despite what you say. Especially when it’s about sensitive subjects like that. It’s not about you, but about the clicks.

Talking about freedom, do you have the feeling you can be truly yourself or is there still anything holding you back?

Yes and no, I’m striving to be completely free and I do my best to live my life on my own terms, but we all know how life, places, structures or certain unwritten rules can limit you in your freedom. But I’m more than ready to break down those structures and obstacles. Always thriving, always striving to be free.

3.1 Phillip Lim knit sweater and skirt. Margiela bag. Pura Lopez boots.

3.1 Phillip Lim knit sweater and skirt. Margiela bag. Pura Lopez boots.

Polo Ralph Lauren shirt. Margiela dress. Pura Lopez boots.

Steffen Schraut turtle neck. Birgitte Herskind blazer. Polo Ralph Lauren leather pants.

Steffen Schraut turtle neck. Polo Ralph Lauren leather pants.

Designers Remix dress.

Designers Remix dress. Margiela boots.

Dianne von Furstenberg jumpsuit.

McQ Alexander McQueen blazer. Boss Trousers. Pura Lopez boots.

McQ Alexander McQueen blazer. Boss Trousers. Pura Lopez boots.

Photography by Robin Joris Dullers
Production and styling by ENFNTS TERRIBLES
Lights by Vincent Van Den Dries
Makeup and hair by Ana Japson
Set assistant Christian 

All pieces Sarah is wearing are available via Zalando.

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