Amanda Archer, who learned to sew from her grandma, has lived in San Francisco for the past seven years with her 20 pound cat. She’s loved living in ‘a really beautiful place‘! In May she’s moving to Portland, Oregon to be with her hubby, who found an exciting new job there. She says, ‘I’ll miss the bay area, but I’m looking forward to exploring a new place‘. Amanda’s work was recently included in VivaLaModa, Dec., 08. You can view her collections at her website and buy her amazing clothes from her Etsy store. You can also catch her at her blog, Independent Designer.
Did you go to college to learn sewing/design?
Yes, I went to The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and got a degree in fashion design, but I learned most of what I know by hands-on work experience working for other designers and fashion companies.
Did you sew as a kid?
I did sew growing-up. My grandma taught me how to sew. I started out making Barbie clothes. I also sketched a lot, mostly girls in different dresses and fashions. I even got in trouble in elementary school for drawing rather than doing my school work. Teachers would write on my report card that I spent all my time drawing.
What were you like as a kid?
I was a super shy bookworm when I was little, but became a rebel in my teenage years.
Where do you find your materials?
I go to New York and Los Angeles for fabric sourcing, to visit my vendors and attend fabric trade shows. I also collect vintage laces from a variety of sources.
Do you hove a designated workroom?
Yes, I have a studio space I work in. I have my industrial machines, single needle and over-lock, pattern/cutting table and racks of samples and patterns. I have a view of gardens and backyards.
Where do you find new design ideas?
I’m inspired by lots of things. Each of my collections are different. Sometimes music inspires me, like a particular song. Sometimes a location in nature or a museum or piece of art does. Fabric is also inspiring. I usually start collecting fabric ideas a year in advance to the actual production of my samples.
Is this a side job or full time?
Full time. I left my job last April to start working full time, but before that I worked on my collection and custom business part time while working in the industry.
What is your process for a new dress/item?
I’m always sketching out ideas and collecting inspirational ideas. I first put together a sketch board with fabric swatches and inspiration pictures. I usually have too many ideas, so I have to go through and edit several times during sample production. It’s a long process of draping, drafting patterns, and testing out my patterns and fabric. It’s a real hands-on process, continually evolving until I run out of time.
Do you have a favorite all time item(s)?
I love my coats! And my vintage lace collars.
Tell me more about you?
It’s weird – I don’t have a favorite color because I see beauty in so many colors. I like oatmeal for breakfast (with apples and brown sugar). I like tea and coffee and I am obsessed with audio books as I don’t have time to read. I just finished listening to All The Pretty Horses narrated by Brad Pitt. I also listen to NPR. My favorite show is This American Life!