Haute hearing: fashion podcasts for an education in style
Fashion podcasts to inspire, empower and keep you in stylish company
Here, we take a sartorial saunter through the most captivating fashion podcasts on our style radar. From dazzling anecdotes on the luxury world of the 1990s to in-depth analysis of the business of fashion, plug in and feel your sense of style soar.
What will the creativity look like in the future? It’s a question that the design industry has mused on for the last year, as in the wake of Covid-19, museums have shuttered, fashion shows have slowed and fairs, showcases and opening events have all ground to a halt. Chanel’s latest podcast, ‘Chanel Connects’, presents a series of discussions between friends and collaborators of the French maison, regarding the cultural frontiers of the future. Our highlight episodes include ‘Imagining New Worlds’, a dialogue between Pharrell Williams and artist and stage designer Es Devlin, focused on the evolution of technology and self expression across generations, and the need to elevate Black entrepenuers, chaired by Chanels’s global head of arts and culture, Yana Peel. Plus ‘Seeing the Unseen’, a conversation between artist Arthur Jafa and painter Jennifer Packer, unpacking the meaning of ‘success’ and the different socio-political interpretations of art forms, led by artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries, Hans Ulrich Obrist.
In VOGUE: The 1990s
Hosted by American Vogue’s international editor-at-large Hamish Bowles, this effusive and anecdote-filled series takes a romp across one of fashion’s most influential and referenced decades, which saw the rise of the supermodel, the birth of grunge, the emergence of the ‘It bag’ and the ascent of queer culture. The podcast boasts incredible interview access to a host of fashion designers, including Miuccia Prada, John Galliano and Tom Ford, who were integral players in the Nineties fashion scene - the former transforming her family’s leather goods house into a luxury behemoth with the invention of a nylon bag, and the latter leading Gucci into a luxuriously seductive style era. Other highlights include episodes dedicated to the aesthetics of Americana, the rise of the superstar creative director à la Karl Lagerfeld and the birth of downtown NYC. Watch out for a comedic titbit from Tom Ford, explaining his last minute need to shave the nether regions of a male model, before he strutted onto the catwalk in a G-string at Gucci A/W 1996 show.
So...What Do You Do Again?
American Vogue market editor Naomi Elizee’s uses her podcast as an uplifting auditory resource for men and women looking to break into the fashion industry, through extended interviews with Women of Colour working within the luxury world today. The podcast is currently on hiatus, but dive into its 2020 and 2019 archives for a range of conversations, including interviews around inclusion, identity and cultural evolution, with Banna Nega & Shelby Macklin, founders of the multidisciplinary studio dissecting Black History through fashion, film and music, and Chiomi Nnadi, the editor of vogue.com. The podcast’s most recent episode features model, actress and writer Precious Lee, who features as a feather-clad cover star on the April issue of British Vogue. She discusses breaking into the fashion industry, her initial career aspirations in law and her eternal affinity animal print, gold jewellery and the ’fire fashion’ that is Versace.
Dressed: The History of Fashion
The history of the paper pattern industry, the visual heritage of protest dressing, the etiquette of cycling, the history of Black dandyism...an astonishingly encyclopedic range of sartorial subjects is explored in this podcast. Hosted by April Calahan, a special collections associate and curator of manuscript collections at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, and Cassidy Zachary, a fashion historian, and costume designer, Dressed: The History of Fashion is based on the founding principle that every person on the planet gets dressed, and therefore it’s essential to address the ‘who, what, when of why we wear’. An auditory essential for fashion historians, theorists or simply obsessives, there are a diverse range of episodes to choose from, dating back to the podcast’s launch, which don’t just dive into the heritage of the luxury industry, but feature a roster of renowned interviewees too. Tune in for conversations with fashion and textile curator Petra Slinkard, senior street style blog Advanced Style’s Ari Seth Cohen and Not Your Momma’s History founder Cheyney McKnight, a specialist in programming around the African American slavery experience.
Supply chains, eco friendly-fabrics, transparent production, fast fashion, carbon footprint: there a plethora of buzzwords, classifications and terms to unpack when it comes to the world of sustainable fashion. Figuring out the best approach to a more environmentally friendly fashion life is often confusing and complicated. Luckily, a host of podcasts are working to unpick the world of sustainability, including Dirty Laundry. Hosted by Irish broadcaster and 2FM DJ Tara Stewart, the series, which first launched in October 2019, features a range of interviews with industry experts for helping readers understand how to live shop and enjoy style with a clearer conscience. Tune into conversations with model, body positivity and mental health advocate Nyome Nicholas-Williams, founder of sustainable size-inclusive slow fashion label W ARE KIN, Ngoni Chikwenengere and Edinburgh-based entrepreneur Cally Russell, founder Lost Stock, an initiative aiding fashion workers and factories in Bangladesh affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cutting Room Floor
Designer and consultant Recho Omondi describes her 2018-founded podcast The Cutting Room Floor as ‘fashion’s only fashion show.’ Now entering its third season, Omondi’s show offers unique and in-depth insight into the inner workings of the luxury world, whether unpacking corporate terms and phrases or interviewing behind-the-scenes industry behemoths. Think analyses of the commercial photography industry, insight into the afterlife of clothing and candid interviews with insiders including menswear designer Martine Rose, denim specialist Tiia Richardson and writer Lynette Nylander, recently appointed the new executive editorial director at Dazed. Tune into the podcast’s most recent episodes, which feature interviews veteran fashion journalist Terri Agins, who recounts her greatest fashion scoop – Marc Jacobs renegotiating his contract for his role as Louis Vuitton’s creative director, and licensing specialist Allison Zamora, who walks listeners through the history of fashion trademarks.
Bande à part
Named after the1964 French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, ‘Bande à part’ takes the form of a weekly 30 minute phone call between two leading fashion academics: Rebecca Arnold, who teaches at the Courtauld Institute of Art (and has as a prolific Instagram following) and Beatrice Behlen, a curator at the Museum of London. Film also plays a recurrent role in the duo’s enlightening catch-ups, which muse on a variety of cinematic themes, including Picadilly (1929) and Daughter of Shanghai (1937), two films featuring Anna May Wong, Jean Epstein’s 1924 silent film Le Lion des Mogols and Leigh Wannell’s The Invisible Man (2020). Bande à part analyses a range of artistic genres, covering exhibitions and literature, dissects a range of critical industry issues, including race and gender, alongside witty and captivating recollections of the week in question, from Nike’s hands-free trainers to the role of Iggy Pop’s cockatoos in a Gucci advertising campaign.