Sandy Gill is the spunky stylist to Youtube star Lilly Singh, and HumbleThePoet. While she's not making her own outfit videos on her popular instagram @thesandylion, she teaches young students to embrace their creativity and to take risks to make gains in their future!
Had you always dreamed of working in the fashion industry or was it something that happened organically?
I have always loved fashion and have always wanted my own clothing line…but I never focused on that path until I graduated from my Masters of Teaching. Growing up as a female in a Punjabi household, stability was something that was always highlighted. So naturally I wanted to get a job and finish schooling for a career that guaranteed one. Afterwards, with much influence from my friends- notably, Lilly Singh and Humble the Poet, I began my journey in fashion via Instagram. So it was always something planned but was on the back burner for a while and required a bit of a push to begin.
If you could describe your style in three words, what would they be?
Versatile, Emotional, Sexy.
What was it like transitioning into social media stardom and gaining fans? Was it at all overwhelming or was it more exhilarating?
The transition was gradual and very organic…these things take a long time to kick in for me so I still feel like the normal Sandy. It always feels nice to get recognized and to have so many amazing people believe in and be inspired by my work. That is definitely exhilarating. Like a feeling of daily excitement – “what can I do next for these people?!” whilst doing what I love.
Did your personal style begin changing or evolving at all when you began amassing such a large following on social media?
Absolutely. I feel as though I became even more expressive and brave with my style choices. Naturally I was investing more time in fashion as well and I believe that had a huge influence as well.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
It is easy to get inspired by everything and everyone in fashion, because it is always about evoking emotion – which is all around us. Specifically I have been inspired heavily by Basquiat, Kanye, Pharrell, the Spice Girls, my sisters, RiRi, Beyonce, Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, this list can literally go on forever……literally anyone hustling to do something they are deeply passionate about.
Would you say your heritage inspires your style choices?
Absolutely! I have always been influenced by Punjabi culture and fashion – specifically in terms of textiles, prints and jewelry. I would say I am even more influenced by my Canadian heritage which includes various cultures and heritages. This allowed me to feel comfortable incorporating influences of many cultures into my daily fashion.
Tropical Fish Button Down | Cross Earrings
Are there any looks you’ve styled that stand out as your favorites?
Styling Lilly for the MMVA’s in Hayley Elsaesser was most definitely one of my favourite looks. The "Admit One" dress looked great on her and the entire look came together exactly how I envisioned it. Lilly’s Streamy’s look by me was also one of my favourites. Some of my work with Humble the Poet recently for Canada Reads gave me that same feeling.
Tropical Fish Button Down | Cross Earrings
For those discovering their love of fashion, what advice would you give to help them find looks they feel confident in?
I would definitely say think daily about the person you want to be and what that involves. Slowly start cultivating that person and when it comes to fashion you can begin to decide what types of clothes make you feel like your best self – is it taking challenges in fashion that makes you feel amazing or just looking comfortable? Take risks, that’s the only way you will figure out what you like best and what makes you feel best.
As a Teacher, do you notice your students taking fashion risks at a young age?
I certainly do. I find the kids at school hop on to all the trends as soon as they are on social media (since it is so accessible now). They are more fashionable as well in comparison to when I went to school whether that means taking more risks or just in general being fashion forward at school.
How do you encourage your students to express themselves creatively?
Definitely the arts, whether that’s music, fashion, visual – or any other type. I share my experiences and suggest that having something creative around you to do can always help with school/home/life stress and can turn into an amazing hobby or even career. It is a great stress relief and a great way to channel your emotions. A lot of my lessons will include a creative component to help hook the students and engage them, as well as provide some portion that they will enjoy and see value in.
What are some of your favourite ways to style statement items, like a boldly coloured top or a patterned pair of pants?
I would pair a boldly coloured top with some distressed denim and heels, playing up the boldness of the top in a dressed down way. I would pair a patterned pair of pants with a sexy crop top to create a very bold but sexy look. I definitely feel like I like to play up the statements items rather than find something to tone them down.
Is there a specific goal or milestone you’re working toward accomplishing in the fashion industry?
Nothing in particular but I would love to have a mainstream clothing line one day and work on producing fashion content via music. Dressing new and interesting clients is a daily milestone.
Do you ever experience creative roadblocks when trying to style a look? What would you suggest getting out of a creative rut, not just in fashion, but in any creative endeavor?
I often hit creative roadblocks where I find it very difficult to work on a project – this is one of the reasons why I can never begin a project well in advance. I feel as though my thoughts get scattered and become uninteresting quickly. Thus, I prefer to work closer to the deadlines so that the creativity remains at 100% and my thoughts don’t get scattered. However when I do hit those roadblocks the easiest way for me to get out of them is to do something creative like listening to music, a documentary, making a puzzle, watching a movie or a tv show that inspires me. I definitely encourage everyone to find a creative binge activity that they can do to get their creative juices flowing again!