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I’ll bet you think I’m joking, right?

Well, think again. Nashville style is becoming less about kitschy cowboy or southwestern squaw princess and more about edgy designers like recent Project Runway contestant Amanda Valentine and her label Valentine Valentine.

amandavalentine

Valentine Valentine FW2012

Nashville is ready, willing and eager to show it has a yearning for couture and up-and-coming fashion designers. Besides Valentine Valentine Nashville is home to more than a handful of fashion design and accessory visionaries such as Peter Nappi, Jamie and the Jones, Emil Erwin, and Leona. Each of them eager to prove they are worthy of attention in larger markets and striving to put Nashville on the map as a fashionable place to be reckoned with.

Peter Nappi Eleanna Boot

Peter Nappi Eleanna Boot

Jamie and the Jones Cars dress 2013

Jamie and the Jones Cars dress 2013

Emil Erwin Mahogany Mailbag

Emil Erwin Mahogany Mailbag

Leona Spring 2013

Leona Spring 2013

As is the usual practice in Music City Nashvillians are banding together to support their own during Nashville Fashion Week.  Launched in 2011 the annual event, which took place April 2-6, is “a celebration of Nashville’s thriving fashion and retail community and the city’s array of creative talent. With runway shows at venues throughout the city, panels that feature industry experts on the art, craft and business of fashion, in-store events at boutiques and retailers. Nashville Fashion Week aims to engage both Nashvillians and visitors—spotlighting a city where style, just like music, defines us.”

Amanda Valentine

Guest Panelist Amanda Valentine

popupmarket

Pop-Up Shopping Event

Proceeds from NFW benefit the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee which “provide an award that will recognize the individual achievements of a fashion industry professional. The financial resources that accompany the award are intended to provide a professional development and/or experiential opportunity for the winner to further advance their career in the fashion industry.”

This year’s recipient is Lauren Leonard – creator and designer of Leona.

Leona

Leona

In looking through the photos for this post I was struck by how many pieces I saw that are perfect for those of us over 40. I can see “X” piece on one of my fellow 40+ fashion bloggers and “Y” bag carried by another. These aren’t clothes for little girls. They have strong points of view and represent clear visions of forethought fashion,  not just trends du jour.

Without a single squaw or yee-hah in sight; so there.

I wish that I had known about NFW 2013 far enough in advance to have been able to attend. When it comes to public events I have to arrange transportation and research venue accessibility issues ahead of time. Three days notice simply isn’t enough – and I was a bit of a grump about it for a day or two. In the year ahead I’m going to do my best to contact each of these promising designers and offer them an opportunity to connect with all of you right here on this blog.

Next year I will be ready. Who’s with me?

• photos from Nashville Fashion Week, Pinterest and respective designer’s websites.