128 – The Future of Retail

Future of Retail

Round Table on The Future of Retail

The National Retail Federation is having a giant trade show in town, and it provides an opportunity to have several retail technology executives around a table for a discussion about the future of the businesses they serve. Participants in the panel are Carlos Ponce, Business Development Director at Tlantic; CEO of Infinite Peripherals, Jeff Scott; Gerber Technology Chief Marketing Officer Bill Grindle; and Craig Witsoe, CEO of Elo. The seven main topics on the table are…

  • The current state of retail, and recent changes in effectiveness, including discussion of the recent mass closings by Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, Limited, etc.
  • Where is the retail industry being pulled? If or when will a balance be reached between online and offline shopping?
  • Customer experience: where is it failing, where is it shining, what can be done better?
  • New retail technologies: how they will affect how shopkeepers and customers interact, both with each other and with products?
  • What is going on with cybersecurity for the future of retail and loss prevention technologies?
  • A discussion on using big data for marketing and sales, and how they interrelate with analytics, and how that is changing.
  • A general discussion of innovation, and what is truly outside the box in retail right now.

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127 – Paloma Young and The Great Comet of 1812

Paloma Young

Costume designer Paloma Young talks about the development process behind her current Broadway show, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. It is a new musical based on a 70-page love triangle story inside the much longer Russian novel, War and Peace, written by Leo Tolstoy and originally published in 1869. Some of the visual and audio elements of this adaptation are very tied to the history, and many are far more contemporary, projecting a fascinating singing and dancing collage of the connections between now and then.

“In our costumes, I have a lot of Easter eggs. Maybe ten percent of the audience every night is going to see them, depending on what corner you are in or who you are paying attention to when.” – Paloma Young

Costume is a vital part of the communication of the show, and Paloma Young soundly delivers with a remarkable array of costumes. This interview with the remarkable young artist uncovers a detailed process and a deep thoughtfulness. She previously won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design In A Play for her work on Peter and the Starcatcher in 2012, and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 puts her squarely on the line for another.

126 – A Day In Costume At The Met With Jessica Regan

Jessica Regan

Jessica ReganCurator Jessica Regan

We went uptown to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to interview Costume Institute curator Jessica Regan. Her remarkable exhibition, Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion, is on display through February 5th.

The exhibition highlights iconic recent acquisitions in the museum’s collection. Many of these pieces have never been displayed for the public. The exhibition includes work from some of the most distinguished and influential designers, covering the 18th century to today.

Jessica talks with Charles Beckwith and Cathy Schepis about both the current exhibition, and general trends in garment design over the centuries which it demonstrates. This vital historical context informs and gives a depth of perspective to where we are with fashion today.

Paul Poiret opera coat

Paul Poiret opera coat on display in the Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion exhibition. Photo by Charles Beckwith

She also provides a behind the scenes context to how the Costume Institute creates an exhibition, and where they get all those fantastic mannequins.

Also, look for The Met’s upcoming solo exhibition featuring the works of maverick designer Rei Kawakubo, opening in May.

125 – Better Use of Fabric

better use of fabric banner

Leaders of three companies making the charge toward better use of materials for sustainability and a closed loop for textiles include Patrick Robinson, designer and founder of Paskho; designers Beth Hynes and Harrison Taylor Johnson, founders of the brand Vestment; and Jessica Schreiber of the textile waste recycling non-profit Fabscrap.

“When I started Paskho, the key thing that bothered me was how was I going to source fabric, because I felt that I couldn’t just go out there and buy more fabric and become part of this sort of circle of buying fabric every season, more than I need, and keep making things and adding to the world’s landfills, adding more stuff into the world that I’m not sure anyone needs.” – Patrick Robinson

For many who embark on the path of making fashion more sustainable, there is a spiritual element, a driving force that tells them this what they are doing is right, forcing acknowledgement from others who are still doing it wrong. The question must be asked by any participants in the creation of garments and accessories who encounter this movement: are you making something that will do more harm than good out in the world?

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124 – What’s In A Simon Collins?

Simon Collins

In the studio, Simon Collins, former Dean of Fashion at Parson’s: The New School of Design, founder of Fashion Culture Design: The Unconference, and a globally recognized speaker and slogan master on the subject of good design.

Simon talks about retail fatigue, see now buy now, the changing nature of Fashion Weeks, diversity, American politics, and a whole world of other ideas in this whirlwind episode.

“It’s like sustainability– Whose fault is it? It’s our fault! It’s everyone’s fault.” – Simon Collins

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