Essential ethical fashion podcasts
We all know the lure of ever cheaper, ever more convenient shopping – but we also know that somewhere along the supply chain, someone’s paying a price. As the siren call of fast fashion continues to ring out across the globe, help’s on hand in the form of clever ethical fashion podcasters who are unpicking the garment industry, stitch by stitch.
The inimitable Clare Press kicked off season one of her beguiling podcast Wardrobe Crisis in mid-2017, sharing insights into the realm of fashion, clothing and style through a lens that traverses ethics, sustainability, consumerism, activism and diversity. Season two has just begun, opening with an interview with New Zealand’s esteemed Gosia Piatek of Kowtow fame. Like her sparkly and embellished sense of style, Clare brings her enthusiasm to interviews with the likes of Laura Wells, Karen Walker, Tim Flannery and Ari Seth Cohen.
‘Who Made My Clothes?’ – it’s the campaign that’s made waves the world over, and it all started with these disrupters. Fashion Revolution released this three-part series in 2017, and we really hope there’s more to come! International fashion journalist Tamsin Blanchard shortens the distance between us and the faraway places our clothing is made, diving into the lives of garment workers around the world and their fight for justice. But “change has to come from all angles”, she says, and so as well as revealing the struggles and downfalls through interviews with researchers, supply chain experts, garment workers, politicians and activists, this insightful podcast can also be taken as a guide in how to be more conscious in our clothing consumption.
This Australian podcast comes from serial fashion entrepreneur Julia Van Der Sommen and founder of Vivify Textiles Edwina Huang. Edwina is based in Sydney while Julia is in Melbourne, and they both bring their experience to the table (or the phone line), exploring the nitty gritty of ethical production and sustainability in the fashion industry. For each episode they converse among themselves and interview industry leaders on fabric choices, manufacturing and certification, so budding fashion disruptors can make informed decisions when creating their own label.
Produced by American blogger and podcaster Russell Jowell, this series takes a global look at the ins and outs of the fashion industry. It’s a news-y one, highlighting current issues in the global garment economy, as well as telling the untold stories of the people and places that make the majority of our clothes. In any given episode, Russell might dive into the world of sustainable cotton, highlight the stories of garment workers in Myanmar, look at what’s being done to conquer labour abuses in Africa, or check in with how the younger generations are absorbing all this information.
Magnifeco started as a blog before evolving into a book and then a podcast. The creation of author and speaker Kate Black, Magnifeco Radio highlights conversations on ethical fashion, clean beauty and sustainable living through interviews with designers, makers and innovators at the forefront of sustainability. Kate taps into her interviewees’ motivations and the journeys that got them into doing the work they do today. Since launching in 2016, the podcast has tackled topics such as fashion and feminism, zero waste and business for good.
While we might think of ourselves as actively interested in fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability and tech, throw the word ‘business’ or ‘running a business’ around and we often slink quietly out of the room. Business can be tricky, but longtime fashion journalist Lorraine Sanders has made interviewing women in business her sport of choice, and she’s gathered some rather successful ladies together in the form of her podcast Spirit of 608. There are more than 100 episodes to trawl through (and the number keeps growing each week), uncovering tips and advice from women at the intersection of these fields. Get your notebook ready.
This one extends outside the fashion sphere, but hosts Melanie Palmer and Ross Townson do indeed dedicate entire episodes to ethical fashion, jewellery and nappies (yes, nappies), traditional crafts, supply chains and the perils of fast fashion. And when they do deviate, it’s usually about climate change, crypto-currencies, chocolate and travel (so all the interesting things). This Australian podcast has been running since 2015, and each episode interviews a particular inspiring mind about their journey and their tips for how to run an ethical business.
Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard on How I Built This
Not an entire podcast and not one that is strictly to do with fashion or ethics, but an episode not to be missed nonetheless. How I Built This is hosted by the legendary Guy Raz, whose voice is probably familiar if you’re a TED Radio Hour junkie. It’s an NPR production, so you already know the quality is high, and that’s upped by Guy’s entertaining and easy-going interview style. The interview with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is one of our favourites, and where Yvon delivered the pearl “The more you know, the less you need”, which we’ve held onto dearly ever since. The episodes on TOMS shoes, Eileen Fisher, Airbnb, and Beyond Meat with Ethan Brown are also worth a listen.
This awesome sustainable fashion podcast from Kestrel Jenkins puts every aspect of the fashion industry under the microscope – making the point that, since fashion is a billion dollar industry, what we wear really does matter.