By Kylie Chisholm ’20
If you did a quick examination of everyone you work with, everyone you go to class with, even everyone you pass by throughout the day, you all have one thing in common: you’re wearing clothes. Cassidy Zachary and April Calahan are not naive to the fact that fashion intersects everyone’s lives, and that makes it worth talking about. In their podcast Dressed: The History of Fashion, the two fashion historians take a deep dive into what they describe as the “who, what, and when of why we wear.” They ground their episodes in relevant topics and current events before outlining how fashion permeates history.
The podcast as a whole is comprised of several miniseries related to fashion, including “Fashion History Mystery,” and “At War with Fashion,” among other segments, in which the hosts discuss niche aspects of fashion history. The goal of the podcast is to give a holistic view of the social and cultural histories of fashion to understand how it affects our everyday lives.
One of the podcast’s most recent episodes, entitled “Fashion History Now,” is the the first episode to the podcast’s newest miniseries of the same name. The episode splits into three main segments to discuss current trends, movements, and events that are shaping the history of fashion in present time. Cassidy and April spend the first third of the episode discussing “Study Hall,” a sustainable fashion conference that was held last month. The hosts share their main takeaways from the summit and clarify the intersection between fashion and the environment.
They continue the through line of sustainable fashion by transitioning to a segment on Jean Paul Gaultier and the launch of his final couture collection. Gaultier, a French designer, is known for including commentary on subjects like diversity, sexuality, and sustainability in his shows,. The hosts were able to latch onto sustainable fashion to carry their listeners without the need for nonverbal transition cues like music.
Cassidy and April rounded out the show with a back and forth dialogue on the various events, trends, and readings they have been exposed to recently. The episode was entirely a conversation between the two hosts. And yet, their dialogue seamlessly flowed from one topic to the next and kept me engaged throughout each segment.
Cassidy and April take the reins on a topic that tends to attract a select audience, but grounds the topics in current and relevant events that engage listeners of all backgrounds and interests. The pair strategically placed a segment on the climate crisis at the beginning of the episode, allowing listeners to learn both about the crisis as a whole and how fashion affects the crisis. It is from this more relatable and widespread topic that the hosts narrow in on specific fashion designers, like Gaultier, as well as fashion events and news. They already have their listener engaged.
The hosts carry the entirety of the episode and rely only on their expertise and experiences to round out the narrative of the episode. While other episodes of the podcast feature guest interviews and more incorporated media, Dressed is still able to produce an engaging episode based entirely in conversation. What makes the episode so intriguing to follow is the fact that they both hold this knowledge; as a listener, you trust what they are saying and use it to enhance your own knowledge of fashion history.
If you have any interest at all on how fashion intersects history, then I would highly recommend listening to Dressed! You can find it on Spotify, IHeartRadio, Apple Podcast, or any other podcast streaming platform.
*Valley Girl Magazine does not own the photo used in this article