130 – How To Wing A Fashion Show

Fashion Show

photo by Hagop Kalaidjian, courtesy BFA

The retail incubator Flying Solo (224 Mulberry Street) decided to mount a fashion show on short notice for New York Fashion Week. Normally this would not be advisable, you really need good lead time to do these things, but with 30 talented member-designers pulling together, it becomes a little more possible to pull off.

this and additional photos by Charles Beckwith

In the studio is Flying Solo founder Elizabeth Solomeina, along with member designers Elena Rudenko, Silvia D’Avila, Jenny Lai, and Stephanie Schedraui, who were instrumental in helping to plan and execute the collective’s fashion show.

On the phone is the fashion show’s publicist, Cathleen DaCosta Bombard. Cathleen is also the founder of the opiate addiction awareness non-profit Heroin Is Not Chic.

The American Fashion Podcast hosts are a bit more a part of the story in this episode. Charles Beckwith produced the show for Flying Solo, and pulled in co-host Cathy Schepis to help manage backstage.

This episode also introduces a new joint venture podcast, between Flying Solo and Open Source Fashion: The SoHo Show (iTunes).

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129 – How CLO Is Changing Everything


CLO Virtual Fashion Director of Operations Daniel Seo

A fashiontech startup called CLO Virtual Fashion (link) has developed software that lets you drape fabric in the computer and see how it will really fall and move. This is remarkable and groundbreaking technology. Our guest in the studio is Daniel Seo, Director of Operations at CLO, who has been responsible for much of the thinking behind how the software supports designers’ visions and needs.

“At the core of what we’re doing, we’re really trying to change the way that design is communicated. And that’s not just between designers and the end consumer, it’s more so between teams. Patternmakers can talk with the designers. They can understand what they’re doing because you see it actually happening as you’re making the changes, so any change you make to the 2D CAD pattern, you see it immediately reflected in the 3D environment.”
– Daniel Seo


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.



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.