The latest episode from the new podcast from The Fashion and Race Database and Tommy Hilfiger's People's Place Program.
As promised, I’m back with an announcement of the first episode from The Fashion and Race Database x Tommy Hilfiger podcast, The Invisible Seam: Unsung Stories of Black Culture and Fashion!
I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this, and I hope that you enjoy it. I knew that professional podcasts were labor intensive, but I didn’t understand just how labor intensive. I have so much respect for the team at Pineapple Street Studios for their passion, organization and support. I must say, it’s been a joyful process these past 8-9 months!
I’d like to send a very special thank you to our Content Editor, Anthony Palliparambil, Jr. Anthony did all of the heavy lifting when it came to managing the unique, Tommy Hilfiger-sponsored articles that were published for this project. That meant that he made sure our brilliant guest writers were taken care of, made sure that all of their writing was received on time, and he read through and edited each piece before uploading them for you to enjoy.
The “No Blueprint” episode provides the foundation – the motive for this series. My friends from grad school have been messaging me, saying, “You’ve been wanting to have a (fashion studies) podcast for the longest time!” It’s true, and it took nearly 10 years for someone to finally accept my ideas. During my time as a fashion studies student (2011-2013), I had this vision of merging fashion scholarship with industry and sociocultural matters in an audio or visual format, making fashion education “cool,” relevant…and even necessary to make sense of it all.
So when you hear the cascade of voices at the beginning of the episode, you’ll hear a merging of (sometimes) distant worlds in fashion: the curators, the professors, the designers, the stylists. Our voices gather in unison to speak truth to power – how we’ve “made a way out of no way.” And how some of our dreams seemed impossible. But there’s joy to be had in this episode as well.
Sartorial storytelling is such a powerful and nourishing tool – it’s when we pause to reflect on questions like, When did you first fall in love with fashion? Or, What were you wearing when you first considered yourself to be “fashionable”? There’s a moment of reverie, as the things we wore, or the way we fashioned ourselves, revealed something intimate and offered a sense of vulnerability. You’ll hear me share my sartorial story, and relate it to two fashion legends. We all have a story when it comes to our clothes.
A couple of standouts from this episode that I loved were the stories from Jeffrey Banks and Ceci. When we recorded Jeffrey, we had so much tape, and it was painful to make edits for this episode. His story is so incredible, it deserves its own tv miniseries, in my opinion. Jeffrey helped evolve a blueprint for young, Black designers.
Ceci was such a delight to interview – she’s so vivacious, you can feel it through the audio! Like Jeffrey, Ceci had stories upon stories to tell, and it deserved its own episode. She has worked as a stylist for decades and seen it all, helping to create a blueprint for stylists today.
The syllabus that I designed for this episode includes some historical and “essential” texts that ground Black contributions to American fashion and style as we know it. Again, creating a blueprint through ingenuity. I hope that you will see the connection when I read a special quote at the beginning of the episode and then assign books like Stylin': African-American Expressive Culture, from Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit and How to Slay: Inspiration from the Queens and Kings of Black Style.
And what also makes this podcast unique is that several of the guests whom you will meet – like Darnell-Jamal Lisby, Elizabeth Way and Monica L. Miller – also have work that is part of this podcast’s syllabus.
I invite you to check out “No Blueprint,” which includes a syllabus and transcript.
If you would like to know where else you can find this podcast, we’ve got you covered.
What did you think of this episode? Leave a comment below.
That’s it for now, but I’ll check in next week with a reminder of the next episode on music, fashion and race: “Rhythm & Muse.”
Yours in service and solidarity,
Founder, The Fashion and Race Database
Host, The Invisible Seam: Unsung Stories of Black Culture and Fashion