The last we spoke to Daniela Monasterios-Tan, the fashion educator at Lasalle College of The Arts gave us a sneak peek into the inner-workings of creative collective A Stubborn Bloom – her brainchild alongside fellow artist and lecturer, Stephanie Burt. Here, the multi-hyphenate and fashion podcast enthusiast lets us in on her own 10-month-old fashion podcast series, In The Vitrine (which she co-hosts with colleague Nadya Wang) as well all the best podcasts to tune into for your in-depth sartorial fix.
Tell us about your podcast, In The Vitrine. What is it about and what inspired it?
“In The Vitrine is a fashion podcast that my colleague Nadya Wang and I began last June. It was a topic that was brought up as a joke in one of our fashion meetings at Lasalle, and after Nadya was invited into a radio show, we both thought it would be interesting for us to launch our own podcast. We both lecture in theory and history and are both London-trained fashion researchers, so this was a way to extend the communication of our research and observations of fashion, with an Asian viewpoint. We try to contextualise all our topics to the tropics! For example, we did an episode on ‘Plastic’ that looked at the history of how plastic became part of our wardrobes, and the embodied experience of wearing polyester in hot, humid Singapore.”
What interested you in setting up a podcast?
“As a researcher, sometimes you end up spending months on a piece of writing that only gets read by other academics or researchers. We thought that by doing a podcast, we could put out all these different ideas and research interests in a more approachable way. We also considered that it could be a good resource for our students, and so far, the response has been positive. Our alumni often say it is just like being back in lectures and many listeners tell us how they listen to the podcasts while winding down at home.”
What do you think has sparked the recent interest in fashion podcasts?
“Fashion podcasts have gained popularity in various topics for a decade with the ubiquity of cellphones and the ease at which one can produce and edit podcasts independently without a studio sponsoring it. It is another medium to engage with news, opinions and information that has a more personal touch and is not confined to an image or small caption. It also allows one to be away from their mobile phone and computer screen to get lost on the journey of human voices. It is really interesting how fashion is always thought about as a purely visual medium but podcasts can give a different vocabulary and layer to thinking about clothes, dress and fashion.”
What topics do you currently think need to be discussed within the fashion industry?
“I think decentering has been a big issue in academia and the industry. This includes the idea of who has the power or privilege, and how to de-centre it. It can cover ideals of beauty and diversity and it is as simple as fashion researchers looking into fashion designers or systems outside the West. What we hoped to cover in In the Vitrine was also a viewpoint that came from Singapore and Asia, and this manner to decentre the narrative that fashion only happens in the Global North.”
Any dream podcast collaborators you have in mind? And why?
“We just had our first guest, Elsa Wong from Youths in Balaclava and it was a wonderful experience to hear about the collective’s journey. That episode might serve as a record of a moment in Singapore’s fashion history where an independent label made it out to Paris Fashion Week. I think the podcast is also a way to archive fashion in Singapore and anyone that is contributing to it would be a dream podcast collaborator.”