Nashville is always surprising me. Any town with the type of growth that Nashville is experiencing will be dynamic, but sometimes you don’t see it until it smacks you in the face.
I was at a new conference in town called Charge. The main purpose was for different people in Nashville to talk about their stories, in particular people that have gained some degree of success. Many of these success stories came from previous failure or challenges and as such, were very inspiring. One of the last speakers was someone I had never heard of before, or so I thought.
Amanda Valentine got on the stage and started talking about Project Runway. I sort of paid attention until she mentioned a specific episode where the challenge was to make clothing for Thunder Down Under, the male revue show. She mentioned her downfall moment, when one of them complained that she hadn’t made the tear off pants right and he couldn’t tear them off.
Confession. I have been known to watch (or co-watch) Project Runway from time to time with my bride. I remember this exact episode and I remember feeling sorry for this designer, because she was obviously distressed and indeed, it was her last week on the show.
Her story on the stage at the conference was that in her desire to make everyone happy, she lost her edge and confidence in what she believed to be the right answer for her style of design. She is back on Project Runway for season 13 and reportedly has done much better. Not only that, but she’ll be making a guest appearance in season three of Nashville. So I may not have a picture of me and Nicole, but now I do have a picture of me and Amanda, the fashion designer from Nashville and owner of Valentine Valentine.
I mentored another fashion leader this summer who is trying to build a business around custom fit and custom designed high-end fashion shoes. I’m starting to get a feel for the design ecosystem here in Nashville and I’m bullish on it getting stronger and stronger.