Style Profile: Savanna Lee of Sav Not Savage

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Savanna Lee is a Toronto-born student who is exploring the contemporary culture through Media Information and Technoculture at Western University. On top of that, she has many stories to tell through any stage you could ever imagine: as a dancer, DJ, model, blogger, writer, singer, a photographer.

In the middle of Trinity Bellwoods Park, Savanna revealed her love for Toronto’s lifestyle and culture during our interview. Thanks to her cheerful and sweet personality, this turned out into a relaxed yet very rewarding conversation.

You can catch her thoughts on her blog Sav Not Savage and listen to her mixing sounds at 3 am on her Soundcloud profile.

Being featured in Majid Jordan’s latest music video, and selected as a finalist to compete in Canada’s Top Model, it seems like the world does not stop for Savanna. However, her life mantra is to make the most of the present, no matter if she is behind or in front of the camera. This is Savanna, expressing herself through style today.

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Jennifer Lee: Could you introduce yourself in a nutshell?

Savanna Lee: I live in Toronto where I manage a restaurant, go to school, write, and sing – among many other things I enjoy. It’s hard for me to describe myself. I’m changing every day, and there are so many things about me that are always changing. I’m experiencing different things and exploring my talents and finding out what I can bring forward in the world- for example, through fashion and something as simple as my energy.

JL: How would you describe your personal style?

SL: Comfortable. I make sure that I’m comfortable and being myself whether I’m going to work, or going out. But sometimes, it is also important to go a little bit crazy even though and be less functional. That’s how we push ourselves to do something different in fashion.

I always try to come up with looks that speak to myself. Each piece of clothing is a part of me, and I believe that we can both experience and project so many things through fashion.

For example, today I’m wearing this dress which I wore to my first OVO concert, I bought the overcoat from Value Village after my MIT exam, and I got my shoes from the Adidas outlet on my way back from visiting my sister at Pittsburg. Every piece has a story behind it.

JL: What is your favourite item in your closet?

SL: All of it!

JL: Have you ever had a “what was I thinking” moment about something you’ve worn?

SL: That is something personal, but I’m willing to share it. When I was in high school, I bought a butt pad and wore it under every pair of bottoms that I wore. Even when I was doing competitive dance, I wore them under my short shorts. In elementary school, I wore two push-up bras at a time. I was so insecure about my body, but I’m happy to say that now I’m at a place where I love my body. I exercise and make myself be what I want to be with my body. Now I can say I present myself authentically, both physically and mentally.

Photo: Tyler Stalman via Flare
Photo: Tyler Stalman via Flare

JL: What is your first fashion memory?

SL: When I was at school, I had to wear a uniform. I remember on a civvies day. I wore black TNA pants, a baby pink cropped tee, a pink bandana, moccasins, and a leather jacket.

JL: What is your favourite fashion era?

SL: Right now. Many things are going on with fashion in this era. We are drawing on many elements that have already happened and making it so different. We could say that fashion today is repeating the 90s, but, in fact, it is a completely new reinterpretation. It’s very innovative and reflective at the same time.

JL: What is your take on Toronto’s style and culture, and how do you stay engaged in it?

SL: It’s ever-changing and united. From a business perspective, we have big retailers such as Forever 21, H&M, and Zara. We also have smaller shops in the city like Runway Luxe and Untitled & Co. and in a way, all these businesses cater to the whole market of this city.

I like to see fashion at hip hop concerts because I find that all the people attending use fashion to express themselves in a very cool yet genuine way. I love that there’s that expression of style in any place. Regarding culture, it’s always booming here! I make sure that I’m a part of it- the everyday life in Toronto- whether it is sitting on the subway, driving on the DVP, walking down Queen Street, or even sitting on this bench right now at Trinity Bellwoods Park. Everything is a part of the culture and the beautiful lifestyle of Toronto.

JL: Where do you shop?

SL: I shop everywhere. I go into a store whenever I see something that I like.

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JL: Who are your favourite artists, icons, and designers?

SL: An artist I like right now is Drake. As for designers, my friend Michael, who has a fashion line called Cut by Kira. Also, my mom is definitely an icon to me. She does fashion design, interior design, and life design. I always look up to her to get inspired and I love wearing her clothes.

JL: What is your theme song?

SL: Childs Play. It’s so fun, and I’ve been in a very fun mood lately.

JL: Whose closet would you want to raid?

SL: My own.

JL: What fashion trend would you like to see go away?

SL: None. Trends talk about the present and, eventually, become crucial to understand the history of our society.

JL: How has your style evolved over the years?

SL: It’s evolved slowly and steadily. I look back to an old outfit and realize I still wear the pieces today, put them together differently.

When I was younger, I was on Tumblr a lot, and pictures of people and places inspired me. I try to get inspired by everything around me. The more I explore what’s out there and experience it, the more I evolve.

JL: Tell me about your blog, and the main message you want to put out to your readers.

SL: To be yourself. Never limit yourself as you can be anything at any time. Never be afraid to express yourself because we have so much to offer as individuals. Everyone has something different to offer, so I want to encourage other people to do so.

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JL: Fill in the blank: “I could not without ___”

SL: Air.

JL: What is your fashion mantra?

S.L.: I am who I am.

JL: What is the best piece of advice you have received or given?

SL: Never give up, focus on your craft, and keep moving forward.

JL: What is the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?

SL: Myself.

JL: What inspires you?

SL: Everything that I see when I open my eyes.

JL: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

SL: I want to be happy and know that it’s something real. If I can be where I am right now in 5 years, I will be very happy. It’s so easy to look at things in a way that we don’t have it when we have so much. I want to be humble about what I have. There’s always something to appreciate and be grateful for.

JL: Your dream or goal in a sentence.

SL: To enjoy the atmosphere.