Amanda Sudano has style in her DNA. One-half of the folk pop duo Johnnyswim, along with husband Abner Ramirez, Sudano is a singer, songwriter, former Louis Vuitton model—and daughter of disco legend and fashion icon Donna Summers. These days, she calls her tour van home and her suitcase her closet. There’s no room for flashy wardrobe changes at every stop—just a small bag of dresses and a couple pairs of shoes. Out of need, she’s become a packing and online shopping wiz. I noticed her minimalist style when snapping her photo backstage at Lollapalooza (read the WWD story here) and wanted to know more.
Here’s my Q&A with Sudano, who took a break from recording a Christmas jingle to talk about everything from her favorite things to wear while on the road to her off-road style to shopping with mom while growing up.
Amanda Sudano: “Growing up, I was the fashionista of the sisters. I dare say I was too trendy at times. I love clothes and I love girly clothes. I 100 percent love wearing dresses and would wear dresses every day of my life. These days, I tend to wear a lot of dresses that accentuate the good parts and show less of the parts I don’t like. But, 87 percent of the time we’re traveling on the road. That means small suitcases. We’re in vans, it’s not like we’re in a big tour bus. So I’ve narrowed it down to things I can wear a lot.”
CS: What’s your on-the-road style?
AS: “It turns into a lot of black dresses that are easy to accessorize. A friend called me from Paris and said I look like a bit of a nun. So my current style is ‘nun-chic.’ It’s basically about fun, flirty dresses. I’m traveling with five guys and their equipment so my bag gets shoved into the corner. So I bring two pairs of shoes—a pair of low boots and low heels, and two or three dresses that are interchangeable. That’s basically it. It’s a science of sorts.”
AS: “My show dresses are from Asos. I ship a bunch of stuff to my house and I’ll have a whole day of trying stuff on. With nicer clothes, you’re nervous because you’re playing in grimy clubs. So, I don’t want to bring something really nice. Asos is perfect because I can just throw it in my bag.”
CS: Off-road, still in Asos dresses?
AS: “My style is jeans for sure. I’m currently wearing Frame black jeans that fit me perfectly and I’ll wear a lot of V-neck T-shirts and tank tops. When we’re home, it’s jeans and tank tops and cooking with friends.”
CS: Any other fashion items you’re dying to wear in your closet?
AS: “Louis Vuitton lambskin pants. I’m just waiting for it to get cold enough to wear them. They’re soft so you can lounge in them. George Esquivel loafers—they fit my criteria of being comfortable and cute enough that I made an attempt. My James Perse zipper sweatshirt, I can dress it up and dress it down. Louis [Vuitton] heels. They are so much fun. The designer is so creative and loves women in heels and loves to create things that are creative but that you can also wear.”
CS: For a jeans and Tees gal—with a penchant for dresses and shoes, you must have a giant closet at home.
AS: “I have the tiniest closet at home. Every surface and bookshelf has shoes on it. Everything is artwork, but it’s shoes everywhere. In a lot of ways, Abner is more into shoes than me. My brother-in-law used to design sneakers for YSL and now he designs for Zegna, so he and my husband go and spend money on shoes all the time. Our biggest criteria is that we need a place to store our shoes.”
CS: Your mom, besides being a disco legend, had iconic style. Did that influence you?
AS: “I don’t know that my style was influenced by my mom, but my outlook on style was. My mother was always the first one to put a premium on yourself and informing people around you what you should wear. When we moved to Nashville, they called sneakers, tennis shoes and thought it was weird that I would call them sneakers. My mom would say, ‘you’ve traveled and you can declare yourself what you want to be.’ That’s how she dressed and what she did. There’s such a freedom in that. You feel like you’re not always stuck in a vortex of fashion. She was always drawing costumes, doodling furniture ideas, she was always drawing.”
CS: Was fashion a big part of growing up?
AS: “If there was something to get dressed up for, my mom was super excited. It was a party and everyone was helping with makeup and hair. As far as everyday shopping, our family was the worst. Our big shopping with mom, right before school started, we’d go to the Gap and buy a bunch of jeans and tees and we’d be done. And if we were in Italy or France, she’d get you a nice bag because we were there.”
CS: Sounds like you’ve nailed your style and you’re really good at shopping now.
AS: “I’m not that good at shopping now. Im efficient at it. If we have some time off, I won’t say ‘let’s go check out that store.’ I’ll say, ‘let’s sit at a restaurant’ and then I’ll order some clothes online and have it shipped to the house. Then you can try things on and try them on with other stuff you like.”
Captions: from top left: Amanda Sudano, wearing an Asos dress and Rag & Bone booties backstage at Lollapalooza (photo shot by Glenn Kaupert), pictured with Marc Jacobs wearing Louis Vuitton in Paris, her mom, Donna Summers. Bottom: Johnnyswim, Sudano and husband Abner Ramirez.