Clara Amfo’s all new podcast with Amber Butchart uncovers the secret history of fashion

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Aiden Wynn
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Clara Amfo and Amber Butchart podcast FASHIONED

This all new podcast investigates fashion and its impact on everything from major social movements to how we live our lives today. Here’s everything you need to know.

Clara Amfo has been popping up all over the place recently. Perhaps best known for her weekday mid-morning show on BBC Radio One, sharing the latest and greatest music as well as her insightful views on important issues, she also wowed us with her Charleston during her stint on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

She hasn’t stopped there though, having made a splash in the podcast-osphere, too. Her most recent venture is Fashioned, which she co-hosts with the hugely knowledgeable fashion historian and broadcaster Amber Butchart

“This series explores how fashion has been developed over millennia by social movements and culture,” says Clara, with the hopes that, “maybe, you will look at your outfits differently after listening and know the history behind each piece”

Clara Amfo stands against a grey backdrop in a BBC press shot
Podcasts: “FASHIONED explores how fashion has been developed over millennia by social movements and culture."

In the podcast, she and Amber talk through style from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The pair acknowledge and appreciate the ways in which fashion speaks (and has always spoken) to gender, class and similar issues, and with this in mind, they investigate its influence on major social movements such as feminism, civil rights and the environment.

Amber, who came up with the concept, explains how “fashion plays such an important part in history, in terms of culture, politics and economics, as well as self-expression and identity.”

She continues: “My initial idea for this series was to combine my two passions, clothes and literature, so it’s been a real joy delving into the research over the centuries, and digging out so many of history’s style stories.”

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The podcast itself starts out with a bang, beginning with an unexpected and intriguing episode on the Vikings, in which Clara and Amber unearth an unknown side to these fearsome warriors, and map how they paved the way for fashion to become a force for class control.

Weaving historical fact with engaging conversation, the podcast continues on through the ages. In subsequent episodes, it travels through Shakespearean times and then into the last three centuries, dedicating episodes to gender-defying fashion rebels, the birth of the celebrity stylist in the 18th century, and the style icons of 1920s America. 

clara amfo amber butchart podcast FASHIONED
Podcasts: “fashion plays such an important part in history, in terms of culture, politics and economics, as well as self-expression and identity.”

While all of the topics Clara and Amber touch on in Fashioned have a bearing on how we dress and live life today, one seems just that little bit more poignant.

Episode four is all about the revolutionary new ideas and inventions that kickstarted the fashion industry as we know it now, shining a light on how so-called “fast fashion” came to be in the 19th century. The hosts chart the rise and potential future of this sort of industrialised fashion, and discuss its implications on the environment, workers’ rights and more. 

Fashioned is the latest in a series of Audible Original Podcasts, and is available to download now, free for Audible members.

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As well as hosting Fashioned alongside Amber, Clara also hosts her own podcast called This City, in which she talks through her relationship with London with guest stars such as Jade Thirlwall, Louis Theroux, and award-winning author of Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge

Images: Fashioned, BBC

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