The Fashion Your Seatbelt podcast gives its listeners the rare opportunity hear from some of the leading voices working in the fashion industry today. Each podcast is an exclusive one-to-one conversation with a creative who is crafting the future of fashion. Hosted by the renowned and award winning fashion journalist Jessica Michault, this podcast is designed to take its audience directly to the heart of fashion and discover what makes it tick.
072 August Getty: Couture's Virtual Visionary
Fashion designer August Getty is a gentle soul whose goal is to create a fully inclusive, fully immersive sartorial world where everyone is welcome. All that is required is that you be yourself 100% both in the real world in one of his one-of-a-kind couture creations, or in the digital sphere where he recently created a whole new virtual universe he has baptized Tinitus.
It is inside Tinitus that August brought to life four digital gowns for this past haute couture season, with 3D imagery so detailed it probably caused some of the biggest couture houses to turn green with envy. The designer spent six months creating these three-dimensional virtual gowns and he intends to expand on this concept with the upcoming couture shows this summer.
Based in Los Angeles, the August Getty Atelier has become a niche go-to fashion house for celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Cher, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Zendaya..and I could go on. All of them looking for outfits that are bold, unexpected, and wholly original for their galas, red carpets, and event outfits, because let's get one thing clear, August designs ensembles for maximum impact.
For August, who is an autodidact designer, the goal of fashion, which he says he has loved all the way back to “when he was in the womb” is how transformative it can be. It can make you brave and it can give you the strength to be the person you want to become. Turn fiction into reality with fashion. That is what makes it so magical and so powerful.
071 Sasha Samsonova: Photographing Female Power
Photographer Sasha Samsonova is generating quite a buzz with her striking images of women who are comfortable in their own skin and unabashedly sexy. A female Helmut Newton, Sasha is all about celebrating the beauty and strength of the women who stand before her lens.
Born and raised in Ukraine, Sasha is an autodidact photographer who was already shooting for Harper’s Bazaar by the time she was 17 years old, having picked up a camera after her plans to become a professional ballroom dancer fell by the wayside. But her innate understanding of how the body can express emotion in the way it moves has had a direct impact on both her photography and the films and videos she is now directing in Hollywood.
Sasha has worked with celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Lili Reinhart, Khloe Kardashian, Emma Roberts, and Kate Bosworth, her images have been featured in the pages of Vogue, L’Officiel, Elle, and Playboy and she has collaborated with brands such as Google, Fear of God, and Revlon.
When you see Sasha’s work it’s all about sensual strength. And when you listen to her speak, you know that her goal in life is to make women feel as powerful as possible. And she has the photos to prove that she is doing exactly that.
070 Romeo Hunte: A Designer Hustling His Way To The Top
Romeo Hunte first registered on my radar in a way that I have never connected with a young designer before. He sent me a DM on Instagram during the global lockdown last year and suggested that the two of us jump on an Instagram Live to talk about the state of fashion in the throws of a global pandemic. And that is exactly what we ended up doing.
I am telling you this story because I think it perfectly illustrates who Romeo is. He always takes the initiative, he has a clear vision of where he wants his brand and his career to go. And he is open to experimenting, trying new things, meeting new people, and just seeing how the creativity all comes together to build something new and engaging.
Now just a bit of background about Romeo before we jump into our podcast interview. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and turned down a full athletic ride for his skills in track and field to instead attend the Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue his dream of becoming a fashion designer. He launched his brand in 2014 and then he hustled. Using his contacts via his freelance styling gigs and his full-time job as a personal shopper at a luxury retail store he was able to build both momentum and a buzz for his signature label.
And then it wasn’t long before Romeo found his statement-making outerwear on the likes of Beyonce, Dwayne Wade, or Tobias Harris. Zendaya was a very early adopter of his colorful ensembles, and Michelle Obama has been spotted wearing his tailored blazers and denim hybrid jackets.
Step by step, Romeo has been building a reputation for making cool, reconstructed pieces that take the best elements of different items of clothing and creating CRISPR-like hybrid pieces designed to get noticed. One person that early on took a shine to Romeo’s designs was Tommy Hilfiger.
The two designers have built a strong relationship over the years, and Tommy recently gave Romeo free reign to forage through his archives. Romeo took it upon himself to revisit and reinvent some of Tommy’s iconic designs and give them a new lease on life. This clever collaboration is just the beginning of the long road ahead for Romeo in fashion.
069 Declan Chan: China's Most Stylish Fashion Stylist
Declan Chan is one of those front-row fashion fixtures that you always keep an eye out for at the shows. A fashion editor and stylist by trade, Declan has also become a favorite subject for anyone who loves to appreciate those who take the time to put together a look. Declan always looks put together, but with flare. And his outfits are just as eye-catching as the spreads he creates in the pages of publications like Vogue Hong Kong, The New York Times, the South China Morning Post, and Men’s Uno Hong Kong, or the campaigns he crafts for companies like Calvin Klein, Cartier, Estée Lauder, and Lane Crawford.
Ostensibly, Declan is based in Hong Kong, but if you follow him on Instagram, his real home, up until the pandemic, seemed to be on an airplane...or a series of hotels... as he is continuously crisscrossing the world to oversee a fashion shoot, attend a fashion week, or just be a part of all of the “you had to be there” fashion happenings.
What I like most about Declan, besides his style, is his honest, frank, and often funny reflections on fashion in general and fashion shows in particular. I always look forward to checking in with him at least once a season to get his thoughts on what he saw - the upcoming trends - and even which pieces he has already put a personal order in for. Declan’s point of view is important because he has become one of the central go-betweens linking the Chinese consumer to the fashion catwalks. Communicating via his editorials a sartorial message that will shape how the Middle Kingdom sees a collection, understands a designer, and ultimately, which brands they decide to invest in.
I know that once you have listened to this podcast you will be as enchanted by Declan as I am.
068 Pascal Morand: Leading French Fashion Into The Future
It is hard to miss Pascal Morand when he arrives at a fashion show. Not only does he tower above most of the guests, but he is also always surrounded by the who’s who of the industry, designer hopefuls, and fashion journalists who all want to bend his ear about one aspect or another pertaining to the business of fashion. But that is what you sign up for when you are the executive president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.
However, Pascal wears his title with the ease of someone who has spent years in the industry and knows it well. Having had paid his dues with tenures at both the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) and Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), not to mention his time as the deputy director-general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the Paris region before his current job – shaping the future of French fashion.
His years teaching and his studies in Organisational Sciences at the University of Paris Dauphine have come in handy at the Fédération where he is both helping to nurture the next generation of designers who dream of showing their work during Paris Fashion Week, and wrangling those current calendar members who are always angling for a better spot. And Pascal’s love of innovation and technology has very much come in handy over the past year when, almost overnight, all of the collections - from menswear and womenswear to haute couture moved from real-world runway shows to fully digital experiences that only exist online, on a platform that the Fédération built up to frame the virtual shows as well as enrich them with added content. Including exclusive designer interviews, round table discussions about hot button fashion topics, and in-depth looks at the savoir-faire that is the beating heart of French fashion.
I spoke with Pascal before the Fall/Winter 2021 menswear collections got underway in January about how he sees the fashion week evolving in the future and, as always when I speak with Pascal, I was blown away with his overarching vision when it comes to the fashion industry. It is one of the reasons why I am often part of the crowd that tries to catch his attention at the shows.
067 Anna Dello Russo: A Fashion Force of Nature
Anna Dello Russo is a fashion force of nature. To the uneducated, she is the eternal star of the concrete catwalk. The colorful, upbeat and sometimes outrageous outfits she wears to the fashion weeks she attends are always the must get shots for the photographers that stalk the streets outside the show venues.
But for those who know Anna, she is much more than a fabulous clothes horse. She is one of the industry’s leading stylists and art directors. After getting a master’s degree in fashion at the Domus Academy in Milan, Anna had the good fortune, right at the start of her career, to cut her teeth at Vogue Italia under the watchful eye of its longtime editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani. There she spent 18 years honing her skills and worked alongside all of the biggest photographers of the 80s and 90s. Then in the year 2000, she was tapped to become the creative director of L’Uomo Vogue before going out on her own as a creative consultant in 2006. She is also currently the fashion editor-at-large for Vogue Japan, creating one iconic cover image after another for the magazine.
Throughout her career, Anna has been paying forward the generosity and mentorship she received from Sozzanni to up and coming stylists. Many of her former assistants have gone on to their own successful careers in the industry after being trained up by Anna. And three years ago she took the concept of giving back even further by becoming the international brand ambassador of the Istituto Marangoni, teaching its students from around the world about how to telegraph their sartorial ideas through visual storytelling that both grabs the viewers’ attention and makes them dream.
Full disclosure, I have known Anna for years and she is hands down one of the most positive, heartful, and generous people working in fashion today. You can always count on Anna to find a way to make any situation fun and unforgettable.
Really love these podcasts, so interesting to get insights from industry insiders! Thank you!
Great podcast !
It is always a pleasure to listen to Jessica's podcasts ! Her insights are a must if you work, or want to work in fashion.
Amazing podcasts !
Love these podcasts !!! Very insightful interviews! I love the authenticity and the friendly atmosphere Jessica manages to have with each person. Can't wait to listen the next one! Keep going!!