In 2012, Amanda Valentine, a Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design alumna, was chosen to compete on the eleventh season of Project Runway.
After earning her degree at UNL, Amanda’s professional career began in Los Angeles, on the set of her brother’s first music video: Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe.” The scope of her styling work has since grown to include television, advertising, red carpet, and, after relocating to Nashville in 2007, a growing list of artists and musicians, including Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding.
In early February, she showed a twelve-piece collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City and in May, she opened an online storefront on Etsy.com.
Valentine talked with University Communications via Skype about what it was like to appear on Project Runway and to be a fashion designer. Video and a transcript follow.
UC: What was it like to be on Project Runway?
AV: When I came home I think I slept for about three weeks. Yeah, it is honestly physically challenging. I mean, all of the designers, we called it fashion boot camp. It is an absolute pressure cooker. And the time you have is a lot less by the time cameras are moved. Or you're pulled out for interviews. It is a lot less time than you think.
UC: Who was your favorite judge?
AV: Nina Garcia. I adored her. She just has an editor’s eye. She got references I was making.
UC: Do you have a technique or style from your college days?
AV: Tim Gunn really remembered this and always referred to my shredding. It started kind of out of necessity because I was broke, and I needed to basically make a cheap fabric look expensive. But, now I'm using expensive fabric.
UC: What's your job in Nashville?
AV: I work full-time as a wardrobe stylist and costume designer. Primarily, I work on a lot of commercials. I actually love working on commercials – a lot of music videos.
UC: How did UNL prepare you for your career?
AV: I learned textiles design. I learned…my favorite class was the social/physiological aspects of clothing, (it) blew my mind. I took accounting and statistics. I feel like I got a business minor. I feel like I got a sociology minor, and I just, I left feeling so prepared. And now I am realizing as a small business owner, I work for myself, I needed all of those. I loved all of the juried exhibitions we got to be a part of. It was just really nice that the professors were always looking for opportunities for us – to kind of show our work or to reach out to other schools or to reach out to the community. That was really neat.
UC: What do you miss about Lincoln?
AV: I miss going to shows at Duffy’s. And I miss…I miss Yia Yia’s pizza so bad. And you know, I miss going to The Mill. I miss having dinner at The Oven. And the Farmers Market. There are so many little things I miss.