How Outdoor Style Icon Andrea Westerlind Does Summer
She fuels her hikes with Parmigiano.
When Westerlind founder Andrea Westerlind isn’t in Utah, New York or her native Sweden, she’s hiking, skiing, golfing, skydiving and plunging into outdoor hot springs all over the world. Food & Wine talked with the young designer about what to wear—and eat and drink—for any outdoor adventure.
Tell us: What’s the most essential outdoors accessory of the summer?
In Japan, they like to bring a collapsible living room out into nature. It’s like having a full kitchen outside. It’s like glamping times 10. And they have an apron with so many pockets because they’re obsessed with organization. So they have a special pocket for everything, for every tool that you need. It’s very romantic.
What’s your tip for packing so that you’re ready for any summer adventure?
I try to wear things that are functional but also look good, because I travel all the time and every time I have an outdoor adventure, or I try to. That’s what our company is all about. Almost everything in my closet is a function piece so that I can go on spontaneous hikes or runs. I always have running shoes and hiking boots. My shirts are wool. You don’t need to wash wool and hemp and linen and every day, so you can actually travel much lighter, which is something that brings me true, true joy. And I usually wear a felt hat too.
And when you say “outdoor adventure,” you’re not always just going for a hike; you’re doing things like jumping off the masts of ships…
That was maybe the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It does not look that tall, but when you’re standing on top of the mast it’s maybe twice as tall. The water is freezing. There’s all this ice in the water. But all the guys on the boat were doing it so I felt like I had to do it too.
What’s the best fuel to bring on a hike?
I think just having some Parmesan cheese is the best thing. I don’t know if people know that here. They eat a lot Parmesan in Italy when they’re out biking or hiking. I guess it’s very convenient to bring bars and ready-made dry frozen food, but bringing a real piece of cheese and bread and an apple and getting a coffee is such a luxury.
What about the best drink for unwinding after a day of biking, swimming or mast-jumping?
Beer. It’s the perfect outdoor drink. I like a light beer, like a pilsner. I'm a typical like Northern European that way. But I kind of drink a lot, so light beers work for that. And that’s half the pleasure of going outside and doing sports: coming back and sitting down and having a beer. It tastes so much better.
I know your travels recently brought you to Japan. Did you have any amazing food?
We were up in the north of Japan in Hokkaido doing some skiing and they have this soup curry. Curry is really big in Japan but it’s a Japanese-style curry so it’s very healthy. I haven’t been to India so I can’t say, but it’s way better than anything you would have in the US. We also had fried shiso leaves, which were so good. They're fried and battered in this very light batter, and kind of like a fried salad. I had it in Tokyo at this really small, very smoky bar.
Any other amazing discoveries while you were there?
There are a lot of hot springs in my life. And Japan is the country of the hot springs. We went to onsens all the time. I think that’s so neat about their culture, they take the time to go to a bathhouse and just chill out in a pool. I feel like Americans wouldn’t really do that. But they’re everywhere and they’re so clean. You can go to an onsen in a train station and it will feel like a spa. [In the US], it would be so gross.
You split your time between Utah, New York and Sweden. Tell me about your ultimate summer morning when you’re in Utah.
I start the day with a trail run. I really love trail running right now. Hiking takes a little bit too long to do as an everyday thing, but a trail run is quicker and you see the vistas and you have that nature experience. Then I come home and have coffee.
What’s next for Westerlind?
The collection I do in partnership with Woolrich every year is all about women traveling together and doing outdoor adventures, because the industry tends to talk about either men or couples doing that, and it’s never a group of women friends. So every year I do a collection for Woolrich and I bring all my best girlfriends to an amazing part of the world and shoot some pictures while having a great time. I want to inspire women to do that more.