Amanda Valin Preston chased her fashion-design dreams through adversity to personal triumph.
The Blackfalds-based designer won third-place in the emerging designer category at Edmonton’s Fashion Week after racing against the clock to get everything in place for the runway competition.
With only a month to go before the Fall/Winter 2019 fashion show, Valin Preston decided to enter it and not put it off for a year.
This gave her only a few brief weeks to design and helped to create the dress, and ask her next-door neighbour — who had never modelled before — to wear it down the catwalk.
Valin Preston arranged for her novice model to attend runway walking lessons, and “she just hit it out of the park! She looked amazing.”
The layered floral chiffon dress Valin Preston created stood out at Edmonton’s Western Canadian Fashion Week — not only for its bold one-shoulder design — but also because it was a size 16, while most other dresses on the runway were in typically small designer sizes.
“I am on cloud nine,” said the Blackfalds resident, who was invited by the show’s organizers to submit six gowns to September’s Fashion Week.
Placing third in a competition she had entered for the first time “is just awesome,” added Valin Preston — and shows the value of never giving up on a dream.
Valin Preston, who grew up in Red Deer, had originally worked in the oil an gas field.
After the last economic downturn, she decided to pursue her “passion” of working in the fashion industry by going to design school in Vancouver. But the expense of living in that city combined with a series of unfortunate events, including a vehicle theft, made Valin Preston decide to return to Alberta in 2011, before finishing the program.
She again worked briefly in the oil and gas field in Fort Saskatchewan, then returned to the Red Deer area and started a baby clothing company in 2015 — around the time her daughter Anya was born. But the many requirements of being a first time mom needed to take priority over her business.
In the fall of 2017, Valin Preston opened the design/alteration company Miss Sew it All with her cancer-survivor mother, who had taught her how to sew when she was a child. Their business has since taken off, with design orders from customers as well as alteration orders from local bridal companies,.
Valin Preston feels lucky to have the support of many friends and family, including her social media expert husband, Brian Preston, and her patternmaker, Lolita Bell, on her latest venture into the field of fashion.
“I’m a firm believer of ‘if you think it, you can do it’… it all depends on how much you want it.”