AmyPatel.jpg
 

VP INVESTMENT BANKING
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STYLIST

 

I met Amy while photographing her and her other half, Kona, in their home for a Roots Canada Valentine's Day feature. Her seemingly effortless ability to balance two careers, fearless style, and (unfairly) photogenic appearance left me knowing my camera and I would be back again someday.


 
 

Describe what brought you to what you're doing now.
I graduated university with a Communications and Business degree and started working in Investment Banking immediately (instead of one of the creative positions I had been applying for). I took to Twitter as a creative outlet and started posting photos of my outfits with my head cut out of the pictures. I was challenged to post photos with my face visible, which I was not quite comfortable with and started a Tumblr account to test the waters. As social media got that much more social, so did the avenues of being able to meet people within fashion. Most of my connections have come through my site, Les Best, and my Instagram. I have had the opportunity to style photo shoots, model for photo shoots, creatively consult for brands and designers, and work with major publications. For me, it was my creative side that needed to be unleashed.

Where do you look for inspiration?
Everywhere. As cliché as it might sound, it started (and by it, I mean my love of putting together outfits) in middle school. I was always a tomboy, but I'd say that I was a "tomboy on point", taking cues from hip hop and rap videos, and fashion magazines. I am also inspired by other people. I remember doing an interview with Jeanne Beker and she asked me a similar question. I look to street style and I gravitate to the style of men and women who look effortless, uncontrived, and comfortable in their own skin. I am also inspired by the ladies of Advanced Style by Ari Cohen, and the women of my grandparent's generation who had a different idea of fancy and dandy, which has become a lost art.

 
 

Favourite wardrobe item?
It's a bar necklace that resides on my décolletage and never comes off. I designed it in Kensington Market (the neighbourhood where I live.) It reads "au petit bonheur la chance" which translates to "the little happiness of random luck". It describes my Pisces dreamer soul perfectly.

You spend your time within two very different worlds - finance and fashion. How do they lend to one another?
Well they are complete opposite in terms of my day-to-day, but a business is a business. I have become stronger within my own business from some of the skill set I have learnt in banking.

These industries also have a tendency to be very intense. What sort of challenges do you face?
I think the main thing for me is time and not having enough of it. Being able to get deadlines handled at work for my Managing Directors, but at the same time getting the styling and consulting work done for my clients without jeopardizing the integrity of either one is the biggest challenge and sometimes risky as my perfectionist side wants to be the best at every task I sign myself up for.

Describe your ideal work environment.
It would be a place where I could collaborate and be creative in a big open space. A place where I could pull from dreamlike walk-in closets, take so many pictures and Snapchats, be able to workout during the day whenever I'm in a creative rut, have a chef make us healthy meals and juice all day. Work, sleep, eat, repeat. Can you tell I'm a dreamer?

 
 

During the shoot we talked a lot about Toronto. How would you describe being from Toronto to someone who's never been here?
I live in Kensington Market, which is such a vibrant, diverse neighbourhood. Leave your suits at home. It's eclectic with a tonne of passionate people. We have our local butcher, fruit market, coffee shop, cannery, bar, florist - all places where the artisans know you. It's a perfect place to live, and I really mean to live fully. I paint on canvas and do a bunch of mixed media on the side during my free time, which Kensington gives me so much inspiration for. For anyone that is visiting in the summer months, we have Pedestrian Sundays (the last Sunday of each summer month) where the streets shut down and the market goes crazy. There are amazing patios and many speakeasies in the area too!
 

AMY'S TORONTO / KENSINGTON MARKET FAVOURITES

Best place for a cocktail: Montauk
Best place for a quick bite: La Carnita
Best place for ice cream: The Big Chill
Best place for vegetarian: Urban Herbivore
Best sweet spot: Bunners
Best brunch: THR & Co.
Best jewels: Anice

Current emoji of choice?
The person on the SURFBORT with the tanned skin!

What is the best advice you've been given?
Three things...
1. It's okay to say no to projects that don't resonate with your brand and aesthetic. It actually makes you stronger and defines you as a brand.
2. The best project you can ever work on is yourself.
3. This is one I say to everyone and live by:  "you do you" - meaning you need to take care of yourself before anyone else. 

 

CREDITS
Published on June 1, 2015
Interview & photography by Marlee Maclean

CONTACT AMY
http://www.les-best.com/