I am on a mission to show the rest of the world just what an eclectic, artistic land Nashville is. I have said it time and again in many of my articles, Nashville is so much more than country music. A young fashion visionary dwells in Nashville and is destined to prove my point in the way of clothing. May I introduce Miss Aimee Spencer, fabric architect and Nashville’s Modern Day Coco Chanel. I sat down with Spencer in her ultra chic Nashville apartment where she resides with her pretty pug Nushi.
Q. When did you realize you wanted to be a clothing designer?
A. Well..for starters, I never ever imagined I would want to or be designing clothes. Ever. I enrolled in a university in Ohio, in 1998, to become a fashion merchandiser. I attended Kent State University, although “attending” is not always what I did. That is why I didn’t finish school and was “released” after two years of enrollment for missing too many classes.
Needless to say, if I had stayed, design may have never happened for me. I believe that you can become what the environment around you drives you to be. In this case, after I moved here, I was privy to a wonderfully artistic community while I’ve lived in Nashville, and became immersed in that environment several years ago which only led me to pull from it; taking all it’s inspirations, dreaming a bit, and teaching myself how to sew- how to design spontaneously, and how to keep the fire burning (so to speak). Any artist knows that to “keep it going” can be a real challenge, one that I’m dealing with at this moment, actually. I can be on fire with creativity- then walk through a dryspell that may indeed drop the curtain on my motivation for a few months. I’m trying to get better at not taking an”intermission”.
Q. I understand your clothing line, “bub” was inspired by someone very dear to you, tell me about it
A. In brief, my label name is “bub”, which stems from a nickname that I had for my grandmother, Shirley Emmke. I called her Grandma Bubba, ever since I was old enough to speak. My parents were trying to teach me how to say “Grandmama”, a rather pretentious-sounding name, and it came out of my mouth as “Grandma Bubba”, and it stuck forever. I chose this name because she was always on the cutting edge of style and fashion. She never let her lack of money mean that she couldn’t have things that made her or her daughter; my mom, feel pretty. Bub, to me, is not about making money so much as it is about just making someone happy. Maybe someday I’ll become wildly successful, that would be nice but right now, if I can design, do it well, always improve, and make someone smile in some really pretty clothes; then that makes me one happy girl and this venture in designing, a success! My designs come from a place of feeling what’s around me. It could be music, people, magazine inspiration, God. I’ve actually been in the middle of praying and had an idea for color choices, or a particular design just pop into my mind, almost as if God had picked it out himself. I kind of just rely on my creativity being a product of everything that’s around me.
Q. Do you take custom orders?
A. I don’t take custom orders simply because I’m still learning construction of garments. I don’t feel it’s a weakness to admit you don’t know everything, and I have a ways to go before I feel like I’m a strong enough designer to design around someone’s specific shape. I have made a couple beautiful dresses upon request for a social event or two and it was fun, especially when I got to hear the feedback of compliments paid to the person wearing the dress.
Q. Do you think Nashville is emerging as a fashion mecca?
A. It’s my opinion, but also a known fact that Nashville is the home to many emerging designers. Amanda Valentine, Shea Steele, Amy B., Patrick Weber, Shannon Lea and that’s just a drop in the bucket of a long list of extremely talented designers that Nashville boasts on it’s fashion front. It’s perfect when you think of it, we’re cradled in the rolling hills of the south which houses all things beautiful. From antebellum homes to green hills and that elegance of the south to all the different music forums that Nashville has, not to mention the kaleidoscope of people from absolutely everywhere, all coming to Nashville because of it’s artistically-driven scene. Fashion is art. The only bad designs are the one’s that you give up on. Even those can be rescued with time and love for the art of creation.
Q. Who are your legendary favorites?
A. My personal favorites among designer greats are Valentino and Chanel. Valentino for his use of color (always), choice of textiles, and for his passion for beauty and the female form. Chanel, not only for the label’s taste for class and eloquent detail, but for it’s founder; Miss Coco Chanel and her detail to etiquette and structure in design. I also love her story and how Chanel came to be.
Q. What do we have to look forward to from Aimee Spencer and “bub” clothing?
A. At the moment, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from designing, but a creative wind is beginning to rustle up the inspiration around me and I’m being stirred to begin again. I do not have any shows on the horizon, but will soon. To keep up with any progress or show announcements, log onto nakedwithoutus.com.
You can Follow Aimee on her imaginative journey and glance into her mind by visiting her website, bubclothing.com if you care to check it out!