Savannah Yarborough, a classically trained, Central Saint Martins-educated tailor, is sitting on a calf-hair-covered sofa thinking about the one-year anniversary of the Melrose Avenue outpost of her leatherwear store, Savas. “It may be a cliché,” she says, “but everybody came to L.A. to be someone and to do something, and a leather jacket is kind of a boost of that power.”
Yarborough, who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, is known for her meticulously crafted custom leather jackets, first sold at her Nashville store in the city’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood, which opened in 2015. Yarborough likes to say that she “makes leather jackets for people who don’t wear leather jackets.
More from The Hollywood Reporter
“People say they don’t wear leather jackets because in their mind, they’re envisioning a Marlon Brando vibe, but when I make them in a super-soft, suede shirt jacket that feels like the denim chambray shirt that you’d wear on a Sunday, it makes them question in their mind what a leather jacket is,” she tells THR while showing off a rack of new products, including a luxurious lightweight suede peacoat (from $4,500) and an ultra-luxe tie-dyed suede hoodie (from $3,700).
Her fastidious attention to detail, combined with the lightweight, lived-in feeling of her garments — all made at her workshop in New York City — has earned Yarborough fans across the spectrum, from music stars Jack White and Brandi Carlile to actors Damian Lewis and Brian Cox, who created an online stir wearing the saffron-colored suede Lowry shirt jacket ($2,700) with a pair of matching saffron suede Legend boots ($1,100) while promoting the final season of HBO’s Succession.
Though the brand built its name on bespoke pieces, it also sells ready-made items and has introduced a made-to-measure program, where customers can adjust the fit from an existing pattern and choose fabrications. “The one thing that I’m honestly the most proud of is how well our jackets fit off the rack,” says Yarborough.
New stand-out ready-to-wear offerings include The Denham from (from $2,500), a luxurious riff on the jean jacket done up in buttery soft leather or suede, or this fall’s The Dinner Jacket (from $4,500), a single-breasted, one-button peak lapel sport coat with front panels cut from a single piece, better to show off the hide and Yarborough’s handiwork. The Dinner jacket, with its 90s-inspired silhouette, is emblematic of Savas’s work. “Everyone wants to look 90s but nothing really fits from the 90s in the way they want and I thought, ‘How do we make something that’s very 90s— like a leather sport coat — and make it fit in a modern way,'” she says.
Says Derek Guy, known online as The Menswear Guy: “When I first saw her work a few years ago, I thought her operation was very special. She has her own world. She’s got the craft element. She’s making stuff that, if you really love craftsmanship and clothing, and if you don’t see yourself wearing Savile Row suits and sport coats, you can still get that experience of bespoke production.”
Grammy-winning musician Jason Isbell, a fan of the brand and the subject of the recently released HBO documentary Running With Our Eyes Closed, tells THR: “I like to dress pretty much the same on and offstage. I try to keep my music honest, so the lines between entertainer and regular guy tend to blur for me. Anytime I’m wearing Savas, I feel more confident, but in a way that isn’t ostentatious. I’m not trying to make anybody else feel underdressed; I just prefer a particular type of armor, built to last and made with care. And I like to look like I make rock ’n’ roll, because that’s who I am, not just what I do for work. Once I saw how Savannah does business and the quality of the clothes she makes, I was an instant fan.” One detail that Isbell (who’ll be seen in a supporting role in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film Killers of the Flower Moon) particularly appreciates is that “she’ll do buttons without sharp edges so I don’t scratch up my old guitars. Can’t beat that.”
Adds Nashville-based singer and artist Alison Mosshart, whose paintings will grace the walls of Savas’ L.A. store this fall: “Her leather jackets are so distinctive and cut so well. I always noted the cool personalized embroideries inside them, and it was impossible to miss that everyone in town was wearing her boots. If there was one place to visit and drool over custom leather goods, it was her shop, Savas.”
Continues Mosshart, whose new album God Games with her band The Kills, is set for an Oct. 27 release, “I think Savannah and I have similar tastes and when it comes to style and fashion and a desire for things to be unique and distinctive. She has the gift of being able to make things that she’s never seen, things that hadn’t previously existed, stuff based on dreams. something that completely compliments and suits the costumes’ individuality. It is no wonder she makes jackets for so many artists. We never want to wear what anyone else is wearing. We love things that feel personal and expressive and make us feel like lone rangers.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
Best of The Hollywood Reporter