A tour de force, and seemingly endless fountain of energy, Amy is the kinda woman to bring excitement to any room she steps into. She strikes the perfect balance between child-like spontaneity, and a confident command that could stop a snake in it's path. As the founder of Denim Dudes, and Dudettes, she's got more than a decade and a half of blue jean expertise under her belt. On our latest jaunt to the dusty town of Joshua Tree we chatted with her about rock icons and leading ladies. Hope you enjoy her charm, as much as we did...
Amy: My name is Amy Leverton, and I am a denim consultant and forecaster, and the author of two books Denim Dudes and Dudettes.
Nativen: What is your favorite stress relieving hobby?
Amy: Oh, wow. What am I going to say? Hiking, mate… I was going to say my ultimate night in is pinning shit on Pinterest and watching inane Netflix stuff.
But actually properly relaxing, or if I'm upset, or down, or stressed, getting up on that hill. It really helps. I grew up in the countryside, and that's why I love LA, because I live in the city but I can get into the countryside. If you're in a good mood, it’ll make you ecstatic. If you're in a bad mood, you come back happy.
Nativen: Yeah, it's a total brain cleaner. It's the best.
Who's the woman who's inspired you the most?
Amy: Well, I mean, there's lots of people. Of course, I'm close to my mom, and there's a lot of things that I've inherited from her that are good qualities. But in the denim industry, I think I'd have to say someone like Lynn Downey, who is the head of the Levi's archive, because she's come at denim from another point of view, from and archivist and historian point of view. We, the denim industry, just owe her a lot for putting all that together. Because obviously, Levi's holds a lot of history. She's just retired now.
But I guess as a woman, and I'm getting older now, as well, it's just really wonderful seeing a badass woman in the industry who everyone reveres and everyone looks up to. She told me a story once. She was in Tokyo and she walked into a vintage store. She was just minding her own business. This guy looks up and goes, "Oh, Lynn Downey san." She was like, "That's the best thing." In Tokyo, of course, they think denim is the bee's knees. That would never happen anywhere else. Just that story and the fact that she got to this status, because of just knowing a lot about denim and the history of Levi's is really cool.
Nativen: That's a great one.
Three women you'd love to sit around the campfire with, dead or alive.
Amy: I know many women will choose suffragettes, activists and very serious ladies but this is a campfire, right? I honestly can't think of anything worse than feeling totally out of my depth trying to sound intellectual and hold conversation with someone far superior than me. So I would go for women I know are going to entertain me, keep it real and teach me about life. I want women around me who I can connect with on their level.
For that reason, first up I'm going with Whoopie Goldburg! My first memory of Whoopie was in The Color Purple which I think totally destroyed me! But she's just badass and maternal and I can imagine her getting us all screaming with laughter too. Just a firecracker of a lady. My other thought would be Joanna Lumley for similar reasons but there's something incredibly 'overflowing' about Whoopie that I just love.
Barbara Kruger is an amazing artist but she's self-depreciating, down to earth and straight talking. She's not my favourite artist (although obviously I do love her) but in my work in trend forecasting, her themes just speak to me SO strongly that I think I'd just hang on her every word. She talks about feminism, sexism, consumerism, hype... everything thats so relevant to today's culture and she'd just add a badass touch to the campfire vibes.
I love books and I adore the amazingly repressed passion throughout British history! I am totally obsessed with the Tudors but I would be waaay too scared to sit beside Queen Elizabeth 1st so my historical gal pal would be Jane Austin. To write what she wrote in her lifetime, I feel like she would have this incredibly romantic character and a million boy stories. My dating style is way more suited to the 18th Century so we'd have a lot to talk about! She might be a bit too stuffy n shy though so if she's not gelling with the group can I just kick her out?
Ooh! In fact what about Stevie Nicks?! She's be amazing. So Jane Austin but if she's being a bore then lets get Stevie Nicks in, half pissed on a gin n tonic and that'll get us back on track!
Nativen: Quick words of wisdom to anyone who's looking to pursue their creative dream. Like a nugget of advice you would offer them.
Amy: Well, I think that ... This is a personal taste thing. I don't like people who get too into themselves and lose that child-like quality of exploration and open-mindedness. I just think it’s important to stay open-minded. If you don't like something, you run towards it and you try and find out why you don't like it, and maybe you can understand it better. Rather than just being like, "I don't like that."
Also, I was given this advice by my ex-boss. She's a badass, and was the head of design at Donna Karan at 30 years old. Someone said to her "How are you at this point, at this time in your life?" She just looks at her and said, "Work twice as hard as everyone else."
Nativen: If you could spend a day in someone else's jeans, who would it be?
Amy: Oh. Probably like Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin in his really tight jeans in the '70s, or Bruce Springsteen on the album cover. The 501s. Yeah.
Nativen: Oh, 100%. Yes.
Last question. Three things you can't live without.
Amy: Ooh. I should probably be more spiritual, but ... Sleep. I'm useless without sleep, and I don't get enough of it. At present, probably like everyone else, unfortunately, my iPhone, because I use Instagram and all that, so it's not very spiritual, but functional.
I guess just people. Being surrounded by positive people or inspirational people. Just people make your world.
Interview by: Lily Hetzler
Photography by: Ashley Turner
This interview has been condensed & edited
all images copyright of Nativen