Amanda Valentine is a Nebraska-bred starlet, complete with two-foot-long tresses, her own line of clothing and a recent appearance on “Project Runway.” Having spent her early years in the Midwest with her beauty queen mother and professor father, she spread her wings in Los Angeles as a stylist with the help of her brother, Maroon 5 lead guitarist James Valentine. Eventually Amanda found her way to Nashville, her current home and the base for all her creative adventures. Trained via her mother’s sewing lessons and the Clothing, Textile & Design program at the University of Nebraska, her work reflects her aesthetic – a unique combination of influences and geographies.
Though Amanda’s slow to concede her own burgeoning fame, she's cheerfully been our neighbor all along. We spent three giddy hours catching up with her in her Germantown apartment. Being mobbed by press, speaking on industry panels, styling for local artists and cranking out her spring line – she graciously agreed to show us her world. We found Amanda to be charming, transparent and generous, yet we couldn’t wait to see what magic lie in the crevices of her shoe closet, too … cubist yellow Clergerie sandals, vintage Swedish clogs and her staple Converse lead the collection.
When not hanging with her director-photographer husband, Will Holland, you might find Amanda at Burger Up in 12south, No. 308 in East Nashville or another of her favorite local haunts.
Stephen: How has your experience working in the “Project Runway” environment changed your natural process as a designer? Have you noticed that you are even better at things like technique or speed?
Amanda: I came back [from filming] a better designer. No question. And, yes, I definitely honed some tailoring skills and learned some new tricks. The overarching lesson for me was bravery. I came back a little sore from the ass-kicking, but it really toughened me up. I learned to design in a braver way. I learned to dive in and experiment and not be afraid to make mistakes or get everything perfect the first time around because it was preventing me from taking important risks. I had never really been forced to define my message or vision. People who knew my work knew my work and I designed haphazardly from season to season without any intentional consistency. I am so much more aware of staying true to my brand and serving my customer with everything I make.
SD: Given your affinity for using geometric shapes and a wide variety of textures/materials, have you ever thought about doing a shoe collaboration?
AV: Yes! I worked on a Keds shoot last fall and haven't stopped thinking about what I would do with a sneaker since! I immediately thought of the brands I wear the most: Keds, Converse, Dr. Martens. But what would be even more exciting would be to find a smaller shoe company/designer and start with a piece or two.
SD: Is there a pair of shoes that you currently own that has special meaning to you, maybe one that you inherited, embodies you as a designer or has been your go-to pair for years?
AV: I always have a pair of all black Converse high-tops and replace them as needed every few years. I don't think there is a cooler shoe.