Hannah Sider is an 19 year fashion student from Toronto, Canada. Read her thoughts on her blog THREE.OF.HEARTS.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
At the moment, I am at University studying Fashion Communications. I also work as an intern at the Diesel Toronto Showroom, a server at the student restaurant and a bartender at afterhours parties - it's a wonder that I have time for LB!
The Toronto fashion scene is definitely progressing, but it is still nothing close to the fashion capitals of the world. Canadians tend to be very safe in their fashion choices and there is not a big market for avante garde designers or really fashion-forward designs. Looking at my peers, I see an abundance of American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, which I suppose makes it easy to stand out.
There are a few Canadians on LOOKBOOK.nu who are more adventurous in their fashion choices (Yibram is one of my favourites) but, unfortunately, they are largely outnumbered.
What do you love about living in Toronto?
It is so convenient and whatever you could possibly need is available around the clock. I never have to go very far to get anything (which is good because our public transit is a joke) and I get many opportunities and experiences that aren't accessible to most people.
Toronto is also an extremely multicultural city and there are many benefits to that. You can see in my looks, for example, how many great pieces I've discovered in Chinatown. The clothing is usually not the best quality, but it's like nothing that you can find at the mall.
The other nice thing is that there is always so much going on and the nightlife can be pretty wild - it's impossible to keep up with! I suppose this can be a good thing and a bad thing.
Last, but not least: Cheap sushi everywhere. Need I say more?
Describe your personal style and its influences / inspiration.
I grew up in Malawi (Africa), and so I think from a very early age I realized that having style and having money did not have to be intertwined. The African women present themselves so well! They wear the most brilliant colours and beautiful printed fabrics - that cost next to nothing. Thus, my personal style is inexpensive but creative.
I think I have so many sources of inspiration, that I could not even list them—and the majority of them aren't even conscious influences. One thing that really inspires my fashion choices are websites like LOOKBOOK.nu, The Sartorialist, Face Hunter, Hel-looks to name a few. There is such a thrill at being able to see the way people in other countries dress—which is probably why i buy so many foreign magazines.
Favorite designers and places to shop?
Some of my current favourite designers and labels are Balenciaga, Giles Deacon, Daniel Palillo, Henrik Vibskov, Elizabeth & James, Alexander Wang, Yves Saint Laurent, Diesel, Rick Owens and Stella McCartney.
As a student, these are out of budget... so I am notorious for raiding thrift stores all over the city. I enjoy the hunt almost as much as I enjoy finding perfect pieces.
Do you think a student budget forces you to be more creative?
Absolutely. 100%. What choice do I have? Unless I spent all my student loans...
The first thing you look at in another person's outfit is:
I tend to look at the outfit as a whole, and pay attention to the details - What accessories have they added? How have they customized the outfit? It really matters how you rock it too. Displaying confidence in your style can really boost a look.
What do you splurge on?
As I mentioned, paying tuition fees is inconducive to splurging. I have a pair of black harem pants that I spent $50 on and I had to seriously debate it for a couple days. I skilled enough in my vintage-hunting that I often discover items that are worth far more then what I pay.
In comparison to the rest of my clothing, I probably spend the most on shoes and legwear. I absolutely love long socks and tights - and if they something unique about them then I cannot resist.
What do you skimp on?
A fashion rule you never break:
I believe you can be true to your style and still dress respectfully and mindfully of the occasion. For example, I am not going to wear jeans to an interview and I am not going to show to much skin at school.
A fashion rule you always break:
I mix brown and black, navy and black, gold and silver... you name it!
I actually get pleasure out of breaking the "fashion rules" and making something work regardless. I bought a pair of black velvet pants a couple months ago simply because they were so ugly. I was excited to face the challenge of pulling them off.
Is this "challenge" the driving force behind fashion for you?
I think it must be. Being somewhat of a perfectionist and never fully satisfied, I'm sure I've applied this to fashion. You can always take it to another level or do something totally different and outrageous, which is likely a driving force for me.
Favorite color(s) of the moment:
Black and grey, with accents of colour. I don't think I could pick a favourite, but I love teal.
What is the most underrated item in menswear and womenswear?
Accessories, for sure. I know that I can't see an outfit as complete without them. The right jewellery, a belt, a scarf, or even a pair of socks can have a massive impact on your outfit.
What do you think is the latest trend to appear, and what are your thoughts on it?
I love the throwbacks to the 70's punk style. Studs, ripped clothing, motorcycle boots, leather jackets... I don't wear it as a whole outfit, rather, I'd balance it out with something softer and more feminine. I used to be a little punk in my early teens and I still have my wonderful Doc Martens from those days.
What is your next must have purchase?
Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire?
Once again, I have so many influences! Two modern day fashion icons that I admire are Kate Lanphear, Style Director of US Elle, and Leigh Lezark, of the Misshapes. I actually just blogged about them here.
What's on your iPod / bookshelf / DVD player at the moment?
I love music almost as much as fashion. Lately I have been listening to lots of Tegan and Sara, Bonde do Role, Ellen Allien, Emily Haines, Crookers, Yelle... don't ask me to continue or I'll be up all night.
Right now I am reading The Covenant, by James A. Michener, and one of my all-time favourite movies that I will never get sick of is The Warriors.
Next place you want to travel to:
Scandinavia! And this website has only perpetuated it... How are you all so well-dressed?
Scandinavian countries are just so fashion-forward, and I don't think it's a conscious effort on their part either. They seem to have this attitude that doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks and it is very appealing. I also am so inspired by their innovative simplicity. It's like Richie Rankin said earlier this year about Sweden, "[it] has become a Mecca, of sorts, to design purists around the world."
What is your personal favorite outfit on LOOKBOOK.nu by you, and by another member?
Really tough question.
For me: In The Event That Everything Should Go Terribly Wrong
For guys, one of my favourites is: Distressed
For girls, one of my favourites is: Grey scale
Something about yourself most people don't know:
I have 3 fabulous younger sisters and the best younger brother in the world.
What can't you live without?
See previous question! Or rather, family in general. I don't see them often because they don't live near Toronto, but my phone bills will tell you that there is no lack of communication.
What is the ultimate showpiece in your closet?
I have this unbelievable dress that I made from a women's XXL shirt and... it's pretty epic. It's silver leopard print and covered in glitter, but surprisingly not tacky. Or it's just so beyond ugly that I can't help but love it!
By the year 2010, you will be what/where:
I should be finishing off my degree and, at this rate, making some connections that will assist me on career path.
Where will fashion take you?
It's hard to say at this point. I love fashion and many aspects of it, but I don't necessarily agree with the fashion industry. I'm very passionate about visual art, writing, graphic design, photography, styling... With the help of some unusually talented friends, a magazine is currently in the works.
I also hold the belief that traveling is a valuable part of an education, so I hope to conduct some serious "globe-trotting" before I find my place.
Our November interview Erika wants to know: what do you have in your fridge?
Without getting up and looking... I am going to say veggie dogs, soy milk, chocolate pudding, honey brown rice bread, fruit, eggs, butter, cheese and PICKLES
We love that you and Erika are friends! Were you two friends before LOOKBOOK?
Erika and I have known each other for years, although I (embarrassingly) confess that it was initially through myspace. We hung out for the first time this summer and were amazed at how much we had in common and upset that we hadn't hung out earlier! It's crazy actually. Sometimes I think we're living parallel lives in different cities because our lives literally seem to fully coincide in every aspect. I wish I got to see more of her but we are texting all the time.
What should we ask the next interviewee?
I'll stick with the food theme from the last interview and ask them what kind of ice cream they like best!
What would you say to someone seeking general fashion advice?
Ultimately, be true to yourself and seek out your own inspiration and style icons. I think that sums it up.