Articles of Interest Podcast Series

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    I just finished listening to a series by 99% Invisible called [Articles of Interest]( – a series devoted to our clothes, why they are the way they are or look the way they do.

    It has been extremely informative, all the materials, history, traditions, gender roles, everything that influences why our clothes look this way. Some of the eye opening things for me: All the plastic in our jeans! Where are our pockets! Why plaid!

    I thought you all might be interested too!

    There’s only 6 episodes (unless they do a second series):

    Ep #1 – Kid’s Clothes

    Ep #2 – Plaid

    Ep #3 – Pockets

    Ep #4 – Hawaiian Shirts

    Ep #5 – Blue Jeans

    Ep #6 – Punk Style

    Articles of Interest



    I was just about to start a thread about this! Full disclosure, I’m a huge 99pi fan and would follow Avery Trufelman to the ends of the earth if she asked, but the jeans episode blew me away. It was a discussion about jeans and their history, but they managed to include the fact that the scaling up of cotton and indigo (for jeans) wouldn’t have been possible without the institution of slavery in the US, as well as the environmental and ethical implications of clothing generally. It was a really interesting and wide-ranging episode for only being about 25 minutes long, and it’s definitely worth a listen.

    I love 99pi because it covers the design origins and logic of things we interact with every day but don’t really think about. I was so stoked to hear they were doing this miniseries because I’ve been jonesing for that kind of analysis applied to clothing, and they delivered. I really hope they do another series, but in the meantime, if anyone has favorite books / pods about this kind of thing, I’m seeking suggestions!



    I just finished listening to the last episode yesterday! Thanks for sharing it, I think FFA will really enjoy listening to it. I loved the final episode about punk in particular, though all episodes were great for all the trivia. I hope they’ll make another season!



    another 99pi fan here, I love this series! The first one I heard was Hawaiian Shirts and I never would’ve expected to be so sucked into a podcast about that lol.



    I just finished the series, and I loved it! The historical context was fascinating, and they did a really good job of framing and condensing huge chunks of history. Some of my favorite factoids from the podcast:

    * Children’s clothing is brightly colored and sparkly to avoid being classified as sleepwear, which is required to be close-fitting and fire retardant!?
    * In the 1920s(?), men had on average 20+ pockets, while women had none. (sorry, I don’t remember the exact numbers)

    My favorite episode was the one on plaid. It’s so ironic that the spread of plaid came about because the English wanted to suppress a symbol of Scottish identity. I also really enjoyed how the story was framed in terms of a symbol of Scottish cultural identity becoming a symbol of British imperialism.

    I’ve never listened to the 99% invisible podcast before, but I’m looking forward to binging the archives.



    You might also like the show Social Fabric on Netflix.

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