Hannah Levinson, 28, is the first Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Davidson College. She works with students to help them see the scope and application of their liberal arts education. Levinson earned an M.A. in Ethics and Applied Philosophy from University of North Carolina Charlotte, during which she pursued how ethics and philosophy act on our lives. A Charlotte native, Levinson moved back home from Atlanta in 2012.
Q. What did you learn about style by being the eldest of seven children?
A. Don’t be afraid to be messy! And maybe frugality. The next four after me are brothers. Style is not primary to them.
Q. What does style mean to you?
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A. Sometimes it’s a place to break the rules a little bit by somehow still playing by them. It’s a fun way to express yourself in myriad circumstances, while trying to subvert something.
Q. Do people comment on your style?
A. If they say something, it is “That really suits you,” which I guess is a compliment.
Q. When did you start wearing red lipstick?
A. Graduate school. It was not necessarily where people were trying bold things on, and I don’t think I made many other bold choices with my style, but I figured I get one thing, and this is what is it going to be.
Q. Do you wear the same brand every day?
Q. I’ve gone through a couple. I’ve finally found one I love. It’s a Sephora.
Q. How does your sense of style help you do your job?
A. It doesn’t hurt that my favorite colors are black and red. My style is something in the middle between student and faculty style. It doesn’t align entirely with what either are wearing. I don’t appear too distant, and am still relatable.
Q. Is there a difference between how students dressed when you were an undergraduate and now?
A. Thankfully there are less sweatpants. I’d rather you look as though you worked out, than as though you haven’t really gotten out of bed.
Q. When you put together an outfit, where do you start?
A. Probably my blazer. I have dozens. Whenever I shop I will usually have something on my list that I need to buy, but it never fails, I walk out of the store with two more blazers or jackets.
Q. What inspires you?
A. The New York City subway, and what I love about that experience and what inspires me most is that people wear absolutely everything. People are beautiful in all of their difference, and everyone looks so different compressed in that way. If someone looks quirky, then I’m probably more interested in who they are.
Q. Where do you shop?
A. I love going to the Junior League Warehouse on Pecan. I’ve had great luck there. It is not overwhelming; it is well organized.
Q. What’s something great you’ve found there?
A. I found this really beautiful long black dress that I liked the bones of, and I have every intent to DIY and revamp. That’s the thing I love about consignment. You can search based on a fabric, or a color, and because it is not cost prohibitive, then you can tailor it to what you want.
Q. What do you look for in shoes?
A. That’s changed over the years. Shoes are more of an accessory. I used to build an outfit around shoes, but now I walk more. I converted to a lower heel.
Q. Where do you shop online?
A. I used this internet service called Le Tote. They send you five or six pieces, and then you either wear them and send them back or buy them.
Q. I never splurge on…
A. Anything but books. I generally make a point to visit a well-renowned bookstore anywhere I travel.
Q. Name a few artists whose work you admire.
A. Joan Didion, Italo Calvino, Shirley Jackson, Frank O’Hara. Mostly writers and some theater people. Eugène Ionesco, Brecht. Antonin Artaud, Jerzy Grotowski. In the theater realm they are modern, postmodern – or absurdism. The writers have not much more in common than I love their use of language.
Q. Do you have a favorite?
A. Calvino is my favorite author by far. His work is magical. “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” is written in second person, and every new chapter of the book is a new chapter of a book.
Q. What does your hair say about you?
A. You know what they say about redheads…
Q. What hair products do you use?
A. Davines. It’s a curl serum that I get at Re Salon on South Boulevard.
Q. What’s the last thing you bought?
A. Coffee from The Daily Press in NoDa.
Q. What’s next on your list to buy?
A. There’s a really long list on my Amazon, but that is not a need. I want a reading bench for my front room window.
Q. What’s the latest on your iPod?
A. The new David Bowie album, “Blackstar.”
Q. What was your last excellent vacation?
A. I went to Shanghai and Beijing last year. I visited my best friend in D.C. over a weekend and we got creative and decided to visit China and did it a month and a half later.
Q. What’s the last great art exhibit you’ve seen?
A. Doris Salcedo in New York at the Guggenheim.
Q. What hotel would you stay in if money were no object?
A. I would probably still use Airbnb. It’s more exciting. Most recently I had a lovely one in the River Arts District in Asheville.
Q. What’s your favorite comfort food meal?
A. Probably latkes. There’s a little place on Providence Road, Gleiberman’s. And The Original Pancake House has latkes.
A. Over easy eggs with sriracha on toast.
Q. Any restaurants to which you are partial?
A. I love Kindred. I think it’s the best restaurant in the greater Charlotte area.
Q. What’s your favorite drink?
A. Old fashioned or a good bourbon neat. I really like Basil Hayden’s.
Q. What’s your Sunday routine?
A. Read the New York times, go for a long run.
Q. I don’t have fun when…
A. I know all the answers.
Q. What advice can you give to women?
A. Don’t be afraid to fail. Try everything more than once. Technology is not a black box. Everything is just a puzzle that you can figure out how to solve.