Whether it’s on the court or in the boardroom, Sahr Saffa has his eye on the ball. Since completing his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Alberta in 2014, where he spent five years as a shooting guard for the Golden Bears basketball team, Saffa has been an active player in the local start-up scene.
Saffa, 27, is the founder and CEO of Cappsule, a social recommendation app that allows users to discover and share the best of local lifestyle.
“We believe that the best information you receive comes from the people that you trust or the people that you love,” says Saffa. “Especially when it comes to recommendations, we find that going through friends or family provides more trustworthy information as opposed to the general public. Cappsule is a platform that we use to allow people to share social recommendations with people in their circle a lot easier.”
In addition to his entrepreneurial projects, Saffa is signed with Mode Models and a brand ambassador for Kit and Ace, a Canadian apparel brand that aligns with his athletic lifestyle and minimal aesthetic. Dressing with function in mind, Saffa’s personal style is easy and effortless.
What does style mean to you?
To me, style means wearing garments that help tell your story. A lot can be said by the clothing that you’re wearing and that helps people, I hate to say it, make a first judgement about the type of person that you are. Not only what you’re wearing, but also how you wear it and if it gives you that step of confidence. I really take that to heart. I like dressing a lot simpler now because I want my personality to speak for itself and not necessarily have the garments that I’m wearing give off a different impression of who I am.
How would you describe your personal style?
I like to think of it as being very monochrome. When I wake up in the morning, I like to have the least amount of decisions as possible. I typically wear either all black or black mixed with grey or navy blue. I dress to be functional throughout my day in terms of wearing things that will give me the literal flexibility to be productive. Even if something looks really nice, I need to see it becoming a part of the weekly rotation of clothing that I wear.
Has fashion always been of interest to you?
I’ve always liked the idea of fashion expressing who I am ever since I was in elementary school, especially as I used to be, and still am, very introverted. Although I could not always afford brand name clothes growing up, I’ve always found a way to find neat garments that tell my story.
How has your style evolved in recent years?
I think that three or four years ago I would have probably been a little bit more experimental with what I wear. With the time that I’ve taken to do some self-growth, I’m really trying to limit the amount of decisions I make during my day and save my willpower for the very difficult decisions. I still love to dress up, but I think I am now at the point where I am erring on the side of simplicity.
Being a brand ambassador, has that made you more self-aware of your day-to-day style?
Being a brand ambassador has made me less self-aware, because half of the garments in my closet are monochrome Kit and Ace clothing and that’s all I tend to wear. I don’t have to think when I’m dressing up in the morning, since I can just pick a pair of pants and a shirt and be good to go. Everything matches so well and I feel comfortable.
You were born in Sierra Leone. How much does your ethnicity influence your style?
I’m still trying to really latch on to that side of me – the sense of really taking pride in my ethnicity and where I come from and having that influence the type of person that I am. I don’t think I’ve really scraped the surface of having my ethnicity really tell my story that way, but I think that the more I learn about fashion from different cultures, especially the culture that I’m from, the more that I’m able to have that adapt to my wardrobe.
Working as a model means that you are constantly surrounded by new styles. Have you noticed that your fashion sense has evolved because of that?
Yes, but more so in the sense that I appreciate a well-made product. When you’re in and out of clothing from different designers on a regular basis,
you get a feel for what good quality really is. It’s also nice to get to put on items you would normally never think of trying on. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I don’t usually get free clothes from the jobs I work. Bummer, eh?
Are there certain fashion icons that have shaped your sense of style?
If I can name two they would be Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. Less for the actual garments and more for the barriers they’re breaking down in a very bureaucratic industry. It is very difficult for men, especially black men, to make a real dent in this space. (NBA star) Russell Westbrook would be a close third.
What are some of your favourite accessories that help you create a unique look?
I really love watches and scarves. I think that I stop there when it comes to accessories. Less is definitely more for me.
Hangout – Alta
Restaurant – Baijiu
Local Activity – Art Gallery of Alberta
Local Store – The Helm
Clothing Brand – Kit and Ace
Fashion Icon – Kanye West
Canadian Designer – Spencer Badu
Fashion Magazine – GQ
Accessory – Nixon watch
Pastime – That’s a given. Basketball
Basketball Team – Is this a real question? L.A. Lakers, of course
Athlete – Kobe Bryant or Russell Westbrook
Workout – Plyometrics
App – Snapchat
Musician – Drake and Jahkoy