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A team of NPR veterans breaks away to podcast and create NPR stories about fashion as anthropology, history, symbolism, and culture.
A team of NPR veterans breaks away to podcast and create NPR stories about fashion as anthropology, history, symbolism, and culture.
A team of NPR veterans breaks away to podcast and create NPR stories about fashion as anthropology, history, symbolism, and culture.
347 backers pledged $50,850 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The SEAMS: In every stitch, a story.

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Fashion is a global, multi-billion dollar industry powered by people: makers, designers, wearers. Everybody has a hand in fashion because everyone gets dressed. Yet for decades, the public-radio domain has underserved the fashion community. The SEAMS wants to change that with magazine segments for NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, in addition to an independent podcast and website. 

Clothing equates to culture and identity. The SEAMS travels the world of clothing as anthropology, symbol, and agent of change as well as exploration. With this journalistic approach, the stories we've already done on NPR for The SEAMS have been hits: 50 years of the Ebony Fashion Fair, the indigenous weavers of Mexico and designer Carla Fernandez, and the 600-plus women who contributed to Women In Clothes who talk about what they wear and why they wear it. Clothing and textiles are woven into the DNA of human history.

In addition to producing radio pieces like those above, our award-winning SEAMS team (learn more under "See full bio") will be podcasting, too. Podcasting lets us break loose and get personal, lets us give you a fun "bagatelle" about pockets or a very serious story about military helmets. As a veteran NPR host, I want The SEAMS to have conversations with writers who think about clothing, designers who make it, curators, and others who inspire, educate, and entertain us on the essential art and history of dress. 

A few items on The SEAMS story wish list: 

— the story of the 1940s Zoot Suit riots in Los Angeles, in which white servicemen and police officers attacked Mexican youth who wore big lapels and pompadours 

— the "fashion anarchy" of Nigerian-born, New York-based artist Iké Ude, who practices dress as a philosophy; the hope is to return to Lagos with him, where he recently photographed the sartorial splendor of the Nollywood film industry

— the workwear-as-day wear trend, beginning with Hamilton Carhartt, who founded a company bearing his name in Michigan in 1879

— Irish tweeds, from Donegal to Killarney to New Zealand (because the wool usually comes from New Zealand!)

— The Leather Cow, a series about leather, hand-cobbled shoes, vegan leather, sustainability, and our human history with hide. 

The most important part of this project is YOU, our community. WE ARE INTERACTIVE. As we craft our stories, we will be depending not just on your dollars, but also your story ideas. So please, join us and be a "stitch" in The SEAMS! These stories will air in 2015. 

Just a few of the rewards for The SEAMS backers: 

In addition to joining our newsletter and getting a thank you from us (on social media or handwritten on custom stationery), here is but a sampling of other rewards for your support.

$50 Package Includes Hand-Sewn Wine Bags

Bags made by Jean Gonzalez, the Richmond Seamstress.
Bags made by Jean Gonzalez, the Richmond Seamstress.

$75 Package Includes The SEAMS T-Shirt OR Tote Bag

The SEAMS Ladies' Deep V-Neck Jersey Tee by Bella OR Unisex Short Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt by Canvas.
The SEAMS Ladies' Deep V-Neck Jersey Tee by Bella OR Unisex Short Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt by Canvas.
The SEAMS tote bag by Enviro-Tote
The SEAMS tote bag by Enviro-Tote

$100 and $150 Package Includes Personalized, Signed Copy of Daughter of the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir

Daughter of the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir
Daughter of the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir

$125 Package Includes One-of-a-Kind Vintage Hat (Here are just 2 of the 12 we're offering!)

$250 Package Includes Hand-Loomed Rebozo Wrap 

Hand-looming the rebozos, Tenancingo, Mexico.
Hand-looming the rebozos, Tenancingo, Mexico.
The finished rebozo!
The finished rebozo!

$500 Package Includes Cardigan by Irish-Born Designer Margaret O'Leary (2 styles pictured below): choice of Aran Islands Coat, Long Pineapple Cardigan, Cork Circle Cardi, Dublin Cardi, or Coat Cardigan

Aran Islands Coat
Aran Islands Coat
Long Pineapple Cardigan
Long Pineapple Cardigan
$1,000 Package Includes Hand-Woven Studio Donegal Blanket: choice of Winter or Rainy Pattern
Studio Donegal Winter (large)
Studio Donegal Winter (large)
Studio Donegal Rainy (large)
Studio Donegal Rainy (large)

Risks and challenges

According to RawVoice, which provides tools and resources for podcasters, some 75 million people listen to podcasts annually; last year the iTunes store saw podcast subscriptions grow to 1 billion. On the broadcast side, 26.2 million listeners listen to NPR each week on over 1,000 radio stations. NPR.org attracts a growing online audience of 25.6 million unique monthly users.

So what’s our risk, then? There isn’t any grave “risk” here: if we don’t have enough money, we simply can’t do the more ambitious stories on our wish list — Nigeria, for example, or anything involving travel to more far-flung places. Then again, we know you’re not going to let that happen. We’re going to complete this Kickstarter thing, right?

Sometimes, in journalism, things don’t work out, which you could call a "risk." In that situation, you find a better story or source or way to tell the story. The reward of supporting our Kickstarter is that when you give to us, you’re part of developing a new dialogue about clothing which is breathtakingly refreshing, personal, and frankly, NOT elitist. YOU GET TO BE PART OF THE STORY. You — yes, you, TOGETHER WITH THE SEAMS — will have helped change the conversation about dress and style and fashion.

You may have thought fashion "wasn’t for you” or “left you out” when, in fact, you want to hear about the art of making, the philosophy of design, the challenges of selling, the science of bringing, and the channeling of human history. That’s the reward: making this a more organic conversation about the human experience from the people who do it, write about it, think about it, and live it.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Be a "stitch" in The SEAMS! Every night when you go to bed, gaze up at heaven and say to yourself, “I am proud to be a 'stitch' in The SEAMS.” A calm sense of well-being will flood over you, and when you wake up, you will do so with a smile.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Receive The SEAMS newsletter + a thank you from us on Twitter, Facebook, or both!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Start the New Year off with style! Reward #2 + your choice of 1 of these:
    A digital how-to guide on vintage shopping that we'll expand (with your suggestions and fabulous finds!) over the course of 2015 OR 31 Days of Fashion Aphorisms, recorded by Jacki and sent to you daily in January 2015.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Reward #3 + a custom, hand-sewn The SEAMS wine bag from Jean Gonzalez, the Richmond Seamstress. Every bag is unique! The first 100 should ship in time for Christmas. The second 100 should arrive February 2015.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Reward #2 + digital vintage-shopping guide + your choice of 1 of these: An official The SEAMS T-shirt OR an official The SEAMS tote bag. (We're public radio. Of course we'll have tote bags!)

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Record a smartphone interview with Head SEAMStress Jacki Lyden to share with your friends. We’ll chat for 10 minutes from a list of survey questions, inspired by the 2014 book “Women In Clothes,” such as “Talk about an outfit or look that you put together for yourself that you came to regret” and “What is the outfit or item of clothing that, when you put it on, makes you feel ready to take on the world?”

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Reward #2 + digital vintage-shopping guide + a personalized copy of “Daughter of the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir," signed by Jacki to you.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    HAT package: One-of-a-kind vintage hat + Reward #2 + digital vintage-shopping guide. (Hat photos and size measurements provided to backers at this dollar amount.)

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Reward #2 + digital vintage-shopping guide + official The SEAMS T-shirt OR an official The SEAMS tote bag + personalized, signed copy of “Daughter of the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir."

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    One-hour Skype/Google Hangout book club chat with Head SEAMStress Jacki Lyden about her memoir, “Daughter of the Queen of Sheba," and/or the 2014 book “Women In Clothes” + Reward #2 + digital vintage-shopping guide. Plus, ask Jacki how travel influences fashion and about her own fashion and travel experience.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    MEXICO package: Reward #2 + digital vintage-shopping guide + hand-loomed rebozo shawl made of hand-spun cotton, from Don Fermin Escobar's workshop in Tenancingo, Mexico.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    TEA & SHOPPING package: On Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, hang out with "Morning Edition" host Renee Montagne and enjoy sales opportunities at Margaret O'Leary and Pamela Barish boutiques in Santa Monica, Calif., + tea, tipples, and tidbits at Renee's home afterward + handwritten thank-you note on The SEAMS stationery from Purgatory Pie Press + digital vintage-shopping guide + The SEAMS newsletter.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    FRIENDS & FAMILY package: The SEAMS newsletter + digital vintage-shopping guide + handwritten thank-you note on The SEAMS stationery from Purgatory Pie Press + Margaret O'Leary knitted sweater at the "friends & family" rate (while supplies last).

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    DANCE & FASHION package: private SEAMS group tour of “Dance & Fashion” at the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) with director and chief curator Valerie Steele, Ph.D., on Tuesday, Dec. 9 + lunch afterward at Hotel Americano + handwritten thank-you note on The SEAMS stationery + digital vintage-shopping guide + The SEAMS newsletter.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SWEATER package: The SEAMS newsletter + digital vintage-shopping guide + handwritten thank-you note on The SEAMS stationery from Purgatory Pie Press + Margaret O'Leary knitted sweater.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    BARISH AT THE BEACH package: Pamela Barish designer shirtdress (retails for $1,600) + smartphone interview with Head SEAMStress Jacki Lyden + handwritten thank-you note on The SEAMS stationery + The SEAMS T-shirt OR tote bag + digital vintage-shopping guide + The SEAMS newsletter + happy hour with Head SEAMStress Jacki Lyden at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, Calif.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    TWEED package: The SEAMS newsletter + digital vintage-shopping guide + handwritten thank-you note on The SEAMS stationery + hand-woven Studio Donegal blanket + an intimate evening with surprise media and fashion personalities at Compass Rose in Washington, D.C.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    STUDENT EXPERIENCE package: On May 26, 2015, meet Head SEAMStress Jacki Lyden and The SEAMS salonnière Christina Bevilacqua in New York, and let them be your guide as you meet fashion writers and historians, attend an editorial consultation at a fashion magazine, and experience a curator’s tour of a fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and/or the Museum at FIT. SEAMS group dinner in Brooklyn at Jacki’s loft.

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Funding period

- (30 days)