Editor's note: We're shining a spotlight on the six finalists in the 2017 CultureMap Stylemaker Awards, continuing with finalist Deve Sanford. Voting for the readers' choice winner continues through October 24 at 11:59 pm. The winners will be named at our Reveal Party on October 26 at Tootsies in The Plaza.
Deve Sanford developed an early appreciation for art, culture, travel, and beauty that grew into passion and, eventually, her life’s work.
Sanford, 44, is an art rep, curator, and partner in DBrand Distribution, an international fragrance and beauty company. And if she ever needs a Plan D, E, or F, “ambassador” might fit nicely on her resume. At a recent on-camera interview, she was asked to give one of her answers in another language.
“Let's see, should I do Swedish?” she asked with a wide smile.
Sanford grew up in the picturesque town of Lugano, Switzerland, near the Italian border, and moved to Dallas to study fine arts and foreign languages at Southern Methodist University. Now much of her family lives in Stockholm, Sweden.
She calls herself a true “cosmopolitan kind of girl” and shared how that theme influences her personal style.
CultureMap: Where does your love of art and culture come from?
Deve Sanford: “My father is an ex-professional basketball player, and ... he is an artist. So I grew up with that early influence of art. Growing up in a city as cosmopolitan as Lugano, I had so many influences from so many different cultures. Switzerland is so small you can go from north to south, east to west in a matter of hours. You go to one [region] you’re speaking German, you go to another one you’re speaking Italian, into another you’re speaking French. So it just really gave me a great background and foundation for developing a love of culture and art.”
CM: How have these passions influenced your personal style?
DS: "Art, for me, is all about self-expression and everyone’s unique interpretation of that. That’s also what travel does for you. When you travel, it opens your eyes to different cultures, and you can interpret and see the world in a different way. My love for art and for travel is directly translated into my love for fashion and my style.”
CM: How has your style evolved?
DS: "My style is really timeless. Of course, as I've grown as a woman, my style has grown and changed, but I’d say it’s just a direct reflection of who I am. It's fun, it's sophisticated, it's sexy. Never trendy, because just like Coco Chanel said, 'Fashion doesn't remain, only style does.'”
CM: Who are some of your biggest style influences?
DS: "My personal style has really been influenced by my grandmother. She was a woman before her time, very avant garde in her style, and she had this confidence in dressing that I really love and appreciate."
CM: Any favorite designers?
DS: "I love Chloe, and I love a local designer here, Nardos [Imam]. I can wear anything from designer to things at H&M. I’m just kind of one of those girls — whatever I put on, it just takes on my personal style."
CM: How did you feel when you found out you were nominated for a CultureMap Stylemaker Award?
DS: “I was a little shocked and very, very, pleased and very happy and excited. I never really think of myself as being stylish because I sometimes equate that with fashion, and like I said, my style is really just a direct reflection of who I am.”
CM: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
DS: “I think a lot of people are surprised that I can speak five languages, that I was brought up in Switzerland, and I now go between Dallas and Stockholm. My family’s in Stockholm and some in Dallas, as well, and I’m just a cosmopolitan kind of girl.”