Interview with Amanda Rife

Many of you may remember that during NYFW last month I attended Sheila Frank's presentation and after party. While at the after party I met designer and artist Amanda Rife. I was very impressed when she told me that she actually made the scarves used in Sheila's show. I also thought it was really fun to know that she too is from central Pennsylvania. Such a sweet girl (we chatted all night), I told her I had to do an interview with her!  :-)

Here I am with Amanda at Sheila's after party.

Snapshot Fashion: Recently your scarves made their NYFW debut in Sheila Frank's show. How did you meet Sheila? How did the idea of using your scarves in her show come about?
Amanda Rife: I actually met Sheila while shopping for a bikini last summer. She was working in the store where I was looking for one and helped give me a final opinion on the bikini I was trying on and ended up buying. So for a while, she was just an acquaintance. I had absolutely no idea the magnitude of her talent in clothing design until she asked me for help on another project. From there we began talking and divulging our creative outlets and she mentioned to me that she needed to find someone who makes scarves. I told her that I had made them before so I made her a prototype to see if it was what she was looking for, and the rest unfolded from there.

SF: About how long does it take you to make one of you scarves?
AR: It usually only takes me a few days to make a scarf. I work on them when I want to relax but still do something creative. I’ve been making them for so long that it’s almost second nature, so I really enjoy the calming effect it has on me.

SF: When did you learn how to make scarves? Did someone teach you?
AR: I was always fascinated with knitting. I used to come home from elementary school, when my Sicilian great grandmother lived with us, and she’d always be watching her soaps, knitting, with a picture of Patrick Swayze next to her rocking chair. Ha! That image has always stuck with me and I was always intrigued as to how she made such beautiful afghans. When I went away to college, I decided to finally try and teach myself but couldn’t fully grasp it. So I asked my grandma, since my great grandmother had long since passed, and after watching her once, I picked it right up. That was 5 years ago and I’ve been knitting ever since.

See the rest of Snapshot Fashion's interview with Amanda (including more images and pricing) after the jump.

SF: You are very creative and talented. Not only do you make scarves, but you also make mosaics. How long have you been making mosaics for?
AR: In my senior year of high school, I took 3D Design and mosaics were one of the projects. I’ve taken art classes in and out of school my entire life but never before did something click like it did with working with glass. After I graduated, I taught myself more about the process, mostly with trial and error. So, it’s been 8 years now. I never really thought I could go anywhere with it until a friend of the family asked me to attempt the Penn State mosaic coffee table. It turned out more immaculate than I could’ve ever anticipated and from there, it went from a hobby to something I could see turning into a success.

SF: Who/what do you look to for inspiration in your art and designs?
AR: I love colors and mixing them to create combinations that normally you wouldn’t be put together, but they turn out meshing really well. I always try to mix it up a little when creating a new scarf. As far as the mosaics, I just try to be conscious of images I find appealing. When it’s up to me what I make, it has to be something I’m excited to see the final results of. I’m not satisfied unless a piece of my heart goes with a sale. I absolutely love when someone asks me for something in particular though. It gives me a perspective that I probably wouldn’t have thought of to begin with, which I always appreciate. And to see the end result, and their reaction to it, well, I just don’t think I’ll ever stop loving those moments.

SF: Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
AR: I would love to be working a part time job I still get excited about, while maintanining this artistic side business. I like having somewhere to go every day and interacting with people. Making scarves and mosaics isn’t something that requires me to leave the house. I just want a portfolio of projects I’m extremely proud of, I want others to be excited about my creations, and I to be successful doing something I absolutely love.
SF: Describe your personal style.
AR: I definitely dress for comfort, with the exception of all the heels I own. I like finding that happy medium of being unique with an outfit but also feeling completely comfortable in it. I love mismatching colors, like green & purple, or blue & hot pink. Something along those lines. I didn’t even realize that was my style until a couple of years ago a coworker told me that I always mix the strangest colors together but I pull it off like no one else she knows can. I’m also very big on layers and dressing up t-shirts. I would honestly live in t-shirts and leggings every day if I could.
SF: What other designers and artists do you admire?
AR: Most people have those famous artists they admire and strive to somehow emulate in one way or another, but I really don’t have anyone that has done that for me, yet. I have the utmost respect for the struggling local artists that never refuse to give up on their dreams. Art, in all its forms, is a necessity, in my opinion. It’s not something you want to do,  it’s something you need to do in order to stay sane. And for those who create a piece of artwork, a piece of music, write a book, take a photograph, design a piece of clothing, anything along those lines, I can’t help but look up to them and respect them whole-heartedly.

***Snapshot Fashion invites all of our readers to stop on by Amanda's Facebook page where she has much more of her work displayed. If you are interested in any of her work please contact her on there. She makes her scarves upon request and also combines colors on her own that others would like. Scarves are $15 each (super long ones are $20). As far as mosaics are concerned she will charge for the cost of supplies & labor. That way, the buyer is getting the absolute best price she can give them.