About this project
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
$75 Package Includes The SEAMS T-Shirt OR Tote Bag
$100 and $150 Package Includes Personalized, Signed Copy of 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
$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
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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