Nominated by Billy Reid, Savannah Yarborough was honored at our 2023 Soul of the South Awards as our Fashion & Textile Design category winner.


(Savannah Yarborough/Contributed)

Savannah Yarborough, a sartorial British-trained menswear tailor and designer, founded SAVAS in 2015. Her goal was to bring the Savile Row approach to the world of leather, opening first in Nashville, TN, followed by Los Angeles in 2022.

She has redefined how leather and suede are perceived in the market using proprietary materials that transform classic wardrobe styles into modern-day armor. Her Italian tannery partners create leather for the brand alongside the finest brands in the world, including Hermes, Bottega Veneta, and Dior.

Her bespoke pieces are crafted from start to finish by hand in her tiny but mighty New York atelier. She has created jackets worldwide from boardroom executives to lead singers on arena stages. Some of her notable clients include Brian Cox, Jack White, Jason Isbell, lead members of the Rolling Stones, Alison Mosshart, Damien Lewis, Brandi Carlile, and many others.

Combining the best of old-world craftsmanship with cutting-edge innovation, Savannah’s brand Savas offers trunk shows, bespoke, made-to-measure, and ready-to-wear leather jackets, boots, and accessories whose unparalleled quality, small-batch perfection, and rock n’ roll spirit is a tradition all its own.


Soul of the South Q&A

1) What was your “aha” moment/When did you decide that this was the industry for you?

On a trip to London, I found myself having gotten off at the wrong Tube stop. As I exited the Bank station, I was caught in a sea of fast-walking, well-postured, and impeccably dressed men. Their Savile Row suits and hand-crafted shoes exuded such a powerful impression. I knew then that I had to know more about the effect of clothing on people.

(Savannah Yarborough/Contributed)

2) How did your upbringing/time spent in Alabama shape your career?

I did not grow up in a creative environment, but I was supported by a father and a mother who embraced the fact that I was not cut out for the “normal” trajectory. I found a counterculture of skater kids who made me feel welcome and pushed boundaries in a creative way. By becoming a part of this social group, my creativity didn’t seem so strange.

I always say that my favorite thing to do within design is to expand people’s boundaries with clothing – not break them – but make that box a bit bigger every time.

I think the “southern wardrobe” of men’s clothing IG ignited a fire in me that I am still determined to push it forward, especially in regards to fit.

3) What keeps you moving forward in the industry? Do you have a quote or motto that you find resonates?

Keep Going. That’s our motto, and it shows up in our Nashville, LA studios and our workshop in NYC. It’s so simple, but it’s just true. I have never woken up a day and wished to be doing something different, so I Keep Going.

(Savannah Yarborough/Contributed)

4) How has your nominator made a positive impact on your idea of/relationship to the industry?

Billy Reid gave me my first real job! I earned my chops and many of my professional relationships during my time there. I think my biggest takeaway from Billy was the appreciation that he had for having someone fully creative working for him. I always knew I had a place there, and we fought for design, principle, and forward progress. I also learned so much about the business side of things because I got to have my hands in everything. That knowledge is truly how I have been able to build my own company alone for the past 8 years.

5) What would you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

My greatest professional accomplishment is many. It’s every time I see a person change in front of me — an emotional shift, the internal power coming out of them when they put on the piece that truly fits them. It’s magical, it never gets old, and it reminds me of why we do exactly what we do. And making jackets for members of The Rolling Stones.


6) What would you like to see more of in Alabama as it pertains to your industry?

I would love to see people embracing individual style more than “fitting in” with clothes. Wear the thing because you love it. No other reason is necessary.