Fashion and politics with Natalie B Coleman: this week on Smart Casual

  • by IMAGE

Smart Casual is IMAGE's first fashion podcast, in collaboration with Kildare Village. In our bi-weekly chats, we examine why we wear the clothes we do and deal with personal style in a way that speaks to you.

We are living in uncertain times, both politically and socially. From Brexit to climate change to the continued obstruction of female rights; there has never been so much anxiety and ambiguity. However, when situations like this occur, there is never a better time to make an impact and deliver a message.

And one way we can do this is through our clothes.

This week our hosts tackle the weighty issue of fashion and politics; how designers reflect what’s going on politically around the world, and how the clothes we choose reflect our own beliefs and ideas. Vivienne Westwood has been making statements with her designs for years and was the first designer to introduce punk to the masses and has continued to challenge the system to this day. Similarly–since taking over as Creative Director for Gucci–Alessandro Michele is changing the status quo and making clothes which deliver a message such as standing in support for abortion rights through the medium of Gucci's 2019 Cruise collection.


Movements such as REPEAL also used clothes to deliver a message and what a powerful one that was during the 2018 abortion referendum campaign. Women use clothes to express themselves and their beliefs and these ideas have never been more important.

Fittingly, this week's guest is the fascinating Natalie B Coleman, a designer whose clothes always have something important to say about the times we live in. The Monaghan native designs pack a punch. Her AW18 collection entitled 'Guaranteed to Bleed' was a celebration of women's feminity and fertility and began a conversation surrounding the culture of menstruation and period poverty. Subsequently, her AW19 collection–which was called 'Sisters'–was a collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund. The collection was influenced by the powerful bond which that exists between women and girls in our society. On top of designing, Natalie currently lectures at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), and is studying for an M.Phil in gender studies at Trinity College and is a mother to two children.

She talks to Marie about balancing it all, where her inspiration comes from for her collections and the importance of supporting local businesses.

Episode 25 of Smart Casual, in collaboration with Kildare Village, is available now on SoundCloud and iTunes - make sure to like, subscribe and rate us wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Smart Casual is hosted by Marie Kelly, Édaein O'Connell and Sarah Rickard and produced by Erin Lindsay. If you can't wait to download, have a listen to the new episode below:

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