When you ask Amanda Valentine about the creative process involved in designing her Valentine Valentine clothing line she becomes animated. Her posture shifts forward, her words come more quickly and emphatically. It's like watching the rush of excitement that comes with new love, only this kind of passion isn't diminished by time. "It's hard to describe why I wanted to create clothing. It's just what I've always wanted to do. By the time I got to college I felt so bad for my friends who didn't know what they were going to major in."
It was from her mother that Amanda first learned to sew, "My Mom is such an amazing seamstress, tailor, and pattern maker. She made a lot of our clothes growing up. I was raised Mormon so I think it's kind of a cultural thing. think I made my first professional looking garment at the age of 12".
"I remember going to the fabric store and picking out my fabric and pattern and buttons. One day I said, 'well, why don't I just make it?' I made a little tunic that actually looks a lot like what I still design today."
"My favorite part about doing a collection is trying to figure out what that collection is about." Valentine enthusiastically explains. "This is going to sound so hippie-dippy, but I'm a Gemini, so I'm constantly fascinated with the idea of contrast. I love duality. I love taking two seemingly dissonant ideas and meshing them. My formula has become a genre of music meets a culture or a time period."
Amanda has created six collections to date. "I'm also fascinated with how subcultures use fashion to identify themselves and their values. For example, I did a collection called French Medieval Fly Girl, and it was really because I was fascinated with metallics, and armor, and this sort of 'Joan of Arc' style. And the more I was sketching it out the more I realized that there was something kind of 90's hip hop about it. That's the part that fascinates me, discovering the duality in it, it's what I'm obsessed with.It's magical to me."
"The collection that I showed at New York Fashion week [Valentine showed a "decoy collection" to help occlude the identities of the finalists] was Macchu Picchu punk and, you know, I was doing a lot of patterns and separates, and it became a little punk rock."
Valentine's new collection is tentatively titled "Memoirs of a Metalhead" and I will bring you detailed coverage when it hits the runway later this year.
Photos courtesy of Amanda Valentine.