Costume Society Ambassadors, Costume Society, News, Reviews  |  August 21, 2018

Fashion History Podcast Picks

Jade Bailey-Dowling

In March, Costume Society Ambassador Eanna Morrison Barrs introduced us to ‘Dressed: The Fashion History Podcast’. She noted that the podcast, ‘promises to deliver a series of episodes that “investigates the origin stories of famous names you already know” with conversations with fashion makers and experts in the field of fashion history.’ [1]

Now, twenty podcasts into their first series, ‘Dressed’ is a great source for fashion historians to use as they wish. They are factual, and therefore make perfect research with citable information for your topic. Yet they are also undeniably fun! I don’t know about you, but even when I’m not specifically researching something, I enjoy fashion history! Even in my leisure time, I love immersing myself in the people and fashions of a time gone by. Podcasts are a great way to indulge in some fascinating free time.

Fans of ‘Dressed’, see below for my top picks of fashion history podcasts.

Bande à Part

This unique format lets you listen in to ‘weekly catch up calls’ between prominent fashion historians and academics Rebecca Arnold and Beatrice Behlen. Arnold teaches at The Courtauld while Behlen is the curator of the Museum of London. They discuss, quite candidly, their opinions about topical fashion matters, from contemporary to fashionable foundations. 

Deconstructing Fashion

Self-proclaiming to be a podcast covering thoughts on fashion and culture, past and present, ‘Deconstructing Fashion’ is hosted by three students who met at London College of Fashion; Anushka, Lindsay and Sian. Definitely not a style podcast (they say so themselves) each podcast is structured into three segments; what we’re wearing, what they’re wearing and what were they wearing. In this format the three encounter and debate topics past and present and how the way we dress is interconnected with our daily lives. Like ‘Bande à Part’, it is refreshing to hear like-minded people informally talking about areas of interest.

Fashion History with American Duchess

Lauren and Abby host ‘Fashion History with American Duchess’, which grew from collaborating on Facebook Live videos. Realising that live streaming was perhaps not the most convenient way to produce content, the pair launched ‘Fashion History with American Duchess’. This podcast covers all things costume and fashion history, from inviting guests who are experts in the field, to sharing their personal costume-making successes and failures, as well as vintage pattern reviews.  This would be perfect for the fashion historian with a love for vintage fashion who also dabbles in home dressmaking.

Unravel: A Fashion Podcast

Perhaps the most established and longstanding fashion history podcast, ‘Unravel: A Fashion Podcast’ boasts an impressive 59 episodes currently! Hosted by Jasmine, Dana and Joy, ‘Unravel’ focuses on the history of fashion and clothing, but also comments on contemporary fashion, fashion news and fashion as a part of culture. This is a very thorough, informative podcast with definitions and historical accounts on the subject. The great thing about ‘Unravel’ is its ability to expose fashion history to a broad audience. Recognising that fashion may need some explanation, more recently, ‘Unravel’ has added ‘Fashion in Focus’ episodes, which take a specific fashion terminology, for example Mutton Sleeve, and explains it in a short, digestible podcast. One slight criticism I have encountered when sharing my love of fashion podcasts is the inability to understand how fashion history, and further material culture, can be understood via audio only. As unapologetic object lovers, how can a podcast truly capture the feel and aura of an object? ‘Unravel’ have a tumblr webpage that they upload accompanying images for each podcast for those who want a more audio-visual experience!