12 to Watch in 2012: Andrea Valentini

Friday, December 30, 2011


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On her way to an iconic brand: Andrea Valentini.

Smart fashion watchers have already snapped up artist and designer Andrea Valentini's bags, because they know they'll want to have one from when she got her start. And if 2012 is anything like 2011 for this trending designer, it should be a banner year.

The Providence native and RISD graduate has made a serious mark in the crowded and intensely competitive fashion accessories market in her short career, creating that rare thing--a distinctive look that feels truly new, not to mention potentially iconic.

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For Valentini, it was all about texture. Beginning her career in furniture and interior design, she was asked by New York's Museum of Modern Art in 2005 to design a computer bag showcasing her first distinctive texture--the "bump" textile inspired by egg crate foam that she'd designed for cushion covers for Studio Gaia's W Hotel in Seoul, Korea.

Her signature was set, and the textural bags, which launched officially in 2007 and were dubbed "incredibly chic" by Design Milk magazine, have caught the eye of tastemaker Kanye West and have been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the London FInancial Times, Surface, Dwell, Interior Design magazine and Metropolis.

But what have been a next-level step in coolness was when Valentini was asked to design a custom gift bag for Eric Clapton, who distributed them to participating artists at the Crossroads Guitar Festival last year. And on the runway, she dressed TV star Alex McCord at the New York Foundation of the Arts 40th Anniversary Hall of Fame this year.

But Valentini, whose brand is gaining traction on the national and world stage, continues to nourish the local focus based out of her flagship studio and showroom space at Conley Wharf on Providence's waterfront. Her fabrics are handmade in Rhode Island, and she appears frequently at events to support the local fashion and style communities.

In her leadership of the fashion scene locally and her growing prominence nationally, Valentini is the style-watcher's woman to watch in 2012.


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