Amanda Bush-Natzel '06

Apparel Design

I really think they have something special there [in the Apparel Design program].

Hometown

Champlain, Minnesota

Deciding on an Area of Study

Initially, Amanda planned to study merchandising, but a 2004 college-coordinated trip to Paris, Milan and London sparked an interest in runway fashion. She was dazzled by exhibitions by Armani and Viktor & Rolf.

Today

Three months after graduating from St. Kate's, Amanda brought pieces from her senior line to the Minneapolis boutique Cliché. She was working as a receptionist to pay the bills and wanted to start a label so she could sell her own brand of clothing, thinking it would be "a part-time thing."

Now her designs are carried in some 40 boutiques across the country, from Washington, D.C., to Scottsdale, Arizona, to Missoula, Montana. Despite the stubborn recession, she has doubled her sales every year she's been in business.

Amanda is currently the lead designer for Amanda Christine Designs. She works in a spacious basement studio while listening to MPR's The Current. Snickers, her 85-pound husky-German shepherd mix, snoozes under the cutting table. Her mother, Janet Knutson '97, helps her cut fabric. In recent years, Amanda has taken on a couple of St. Kate's interns, including Amanda Chaffin Reddy '09. "I really think they have something special there," she says of her alma mater's program.

Now she's the one doing the dazzling. "I think she's one of the best up-and-coming designers in the country," says Josh Sundberg, who owns Cliché boutique and attends trade shows nationwide.