Garmology - A podcast about clothes, and stuff.

40 Episodes

By: Nick Johannessen

Garmology is a podcast about our clothes, old and new, how they are made, and the impact they have, from a perspective of making, buying, wearing, collecting, evaluating and appreciating. With interesting guests, the aim is to provide a non-fashion view of the world of our clothes. Expect plenty of opinions! Garmology is made by Nick Johannessen. There is no advertising or sponsorship, but you are welcome to support the podcast at Garmology theme music by Fabian Stordalen.

The Cabourn way - With Nigel Cabourn

It's been a long time coming, but this week finally sees iconic British designer Nigel Cabourn guest Garmology for a wide-ranging and openhearted chat about why he really got into fashion design, his inspirations and heroes, the ups and downs of life and business, his love of travelling, meeting people and collecting vintage garments, the collection that never happened, and being taught fitness the traditional way. Oh, and comparing his designs to Mr Potato Head?

Warning: Nigel does swear occasionally and the sound quality is dodgy at times, but it does improve again.

You can...

Improving by mending - With Eva Kittelsen

This week's guest is Eva Kittelsen, author and visible mending activist, sewing bee contestant, fashion and textile designer and entrepreneur. We talk about her starting out in the fashion industry, her experiences in fast fashion, how getting involved in ethical production changed things and how mending came to be so important, both as a way to repair clothes and as a way to reassemble life. 

You can find Eva on the web at, on Instagram as and @evakittelsen, also on TikTok as, BuyMeACoffeee and on Facebook.

Garmology is m...

Going archival - With Dr Kat Jungnickel, Politics of Patents (#120)

This week's guest is Dr Kat Jungnickel, sociologist (from Goldsmiths, University of London), cyclist, tweed enthusiast and keen investigator of historical clothing patents. We talk about how the popularity of 'safety' bicycles in Britain in the 1890s became a catalyst for the women's rights movement and led to sartorial inventions and patents for new forms of (convertible) cycle wear that switched from street wear to cycle wear. Kat and her team of sewing social scientists reconstruct many of the innovative solutions from the past and reflect on how these designs helped women lead active independent lives.

You c...

A likeable cut of the jib - With Guy Hill, Dashing Tweeds (#119)

This week's guest is Guy Hills, bon vivant and founder of Dashing Tweeds, makers of innovative tweed and dashing outfits thereof. We get into the joy of tailoring, menswear history, why tweed is a top technical fabric, old money fashion, tweed runs, why tailored tweed is the hard drug of garments and more. Oh, and what a true garmsman does when your wife demands you cover your cycling tweed with a reflective vest.

You can find Dashing Tweeds on the web here and on Instagram as @dashingtweeds

Garmology is made by Nick Johannessen. There is...

Get ahead with a hat - With Allon Zloof, Tom Smarte (#118)

This week's guest is Allon Zloof, a fourth-generation hatmaker with the family-owned Tom Smarte. We talk about different styles, a bit of history, where hats are at today, changes in the hatmaking industry, how to select a hat to suit you, sizing, materials and maybe more importantly how to find the confidence to don a hat! 

You can find Tom Smarte on the web here and on Instagram as @tomsmarte.

Garmology is made by Nick Johannessen. There is no advertising or sponsorship, but you are welcome to support the podcast at

Off the main street - With Kelly Dawson and Scott Ogden, Dawson Denim (#117)

Today we are off to the British seaside to meet Kelly Dawson and Scott Ogden of Dawson Denim, a small maker of quality jeans. We talk about how Kelly became increasingly disenchanted with her career in the garment industry, about Japanese denim, how offering free repairs brought media mentions, meeting through the vintage music scene and how their shared interest in nostalgia has informed their designs. Oh, Scott's erratic style transformations and his years living in 1966!

You can find Dawdon Denim on the web at and on Instagram as @dawsondenim.

Garmology is made...

Design for repairability - With Rosanna Watson, Snowdonia Gear Repair (#116)

In this episode, Rosanna Watson of Snowdonia Gear Repair drops in to talk about the boom in outdoor gear, designing for repairability, greenwashing in the outdoor industry, the problem with "sustainable" proofing, the balance between technical performance and durability, Goretex and synthetic fabric, why some like visible repairs and others don't and why you should start mending your clothes today. Oh, and a pro tip for one of the big things to look for when shopping for a new jacket. 

You can find Rosanna and Snowdonia Gear Repair on the web at and on Inst...

Wonderfully warm legs - With Diane and James Welstead of Olaf McTarn (#115)

My guests today are Diane and James Welstead, veterans of the garment industry and entrepreneurs of well-based leg comfort, the Olaf McTarn. We talk about how the garment business has changed over the past decades, offshoring production, how textiles have changed, the joy of actually crafting things, the relevance of stories in marketing and even take a moment to consider the case for synthetic fabrics. PS: This is probably the most ASMR episode so far!

You can find Olaf McTarn on the web at and on Instagram at @olafmctarn.

Garmology is made by...

Made by hand for feet - With Ruth Emily Davey of RED (#114)

We're off to Wales this week to talk to Ruth Emily Davey about her life making shoes. We talk about how she quite unintentionally started as a shoemaker's apprentice, grew to love the craft, her mentor and friend Alan James Raddon, why we can't all wear the same type of shoes and what a community means for the craft. And what it's like to discover your unique and special invention is suddenly pirated and sold in a plastic version.

You can find Ruth Emily Davey on the web at and on Instagram as @ruthemilydavey.

The Anniversary AMA Episode - With Nick as the guest (#113)

The week is an Ask Me Anything episode celebrating 10 years since the Well Dressed Dad blog started. The guest is your usual host, Nick Johannessen. With a wide range of reader-supplied questions, it's a rare opportunity for your regular host to get more than a few words in edge-wise and talk at length about tweed, sustainability, taking photos in the street, personal style, why the natural fabrics are the best, a fantasy custom garment, a definition of luxury, buying online and more. This week's guest host is Emma Johannessen.

Garmology is researched, booked, hosted, edited, published, paid...

Approaching Ivy - With Laura Arnold (Reapersower), digital content creator (#112)

This week I'm visited by Laura Arnold, aka Reapersower, a digital content creator and menswear enthusiast from New York. We talk about how Laura has immersed herself in classic American menswear, taken on the Ivy, dressing for ourself instead of for social media, the difference between hoarding and cultivating a collection, what is actually vintage now and daring to be different.

You can find Laura on Instagram as @reapersower and blog at

Garmology is researched, booked, hosted, edited, published, paid for and everything else by Nick Johannessen. There is no advertising or sponsorship...

Carrying on - With Alec Farmer of Trakke (#111)

Alec Farmer of Glasgow-based backpack company Trakke guests Garmology today to talk about how he got started as a luggage designer, living in a self-made microhouse in a Scottish winter, how the early bags were artefacts of found materials, being socially and environmentally responsible, the importance of evolving the product, while at the same time repairing and recycling what has already been made. And just what do you do when a customer wants you to make a bag out of a kevlar sail?

You can find Trakke on the web at and on Instagram...

The natural way - With MalĂș ColorĂ­n of Talu (#110)

Today I welcome MalĂș ColorĂ­n of Talu to Garmology. MalĂș is a natural dyer living in Ireland, though originally from Mexico. We have a grand natter about how she came to be working with textiles, the process of natural dyes, her passion for regenerative growing and starting the Irish chapter of Fibreshed. We also go down the deep rabbit hole of indigo and what "natural indigo" really is.

You can find Talu on Instagram at, the Talu website, and additional links here.

Fibreshed Ireland has their website here and Instagram as @fibreshed_ire...

The Rebels Wardrobe - With Bryan "Denimstrummer" Szabo (#109)

This week I sit down with Bryan Szabo, author of "The Rebel's Wardrobe" and instigator of the Indigo Invitational. We talk about who the rebels were, the items of clothing they became known for and why these garments became so important. We also give a crash course in denim fades, why this is meaning full and how there is now a year long international competition to determine who has the best wear on their jeans.  

You can find Bryan on Instagram as @denimstrummer, also  @indigoinvitational and @denimhunters

The Rebel's Wardrobe is available from Gestalten on th...

Status, culture and garms - With W David Marx, Author (#108)

This week author W David Marx visits us from Tokyo to talk about his books "Ametora" and "Status and Culture". We enjoy a good conversation around topics mentioned in the books, such as the introduction of jeans in Japan, the rise of Ivy fashion and US vintage, Japanese subcultures and what they meant, how status works, old money vs new money aesthetics, who bestows status, and why it's difficult to increase your own status.

You can find W David Marx online on the web at, Twitter and Instagram as @wdavidmarx

Also, W...

The annual festive special! - With Shaun, Jon and Nick (#107)

By popular demand, the festive special episode is back! Described variously as "like listening to three guys talk about clothes in a pub" and "clearly the most insightful and deep analytical discussion of the day", the reputation precedes this in-demand recording. This year the boys cover choice and controversial topics, such as bootcut jeans, institution core, buying vintage from Malaysia, shonky shoes for sale and how no one pays attention to our cute little outfits.

Featuring Shaun Brown and Jon Fowler, aka These_Rough_Notes and HeavyJon on Instagram.

Early reviews of this episode are...

The dream of Loom-Land - With Daniel Harris of London Cloth Co

This week sees a return visit from Daniel Harris of the London Cloth co. Daniel is renowned throughout the world of weaving as a keen collector and restorer of old looms. In addition to being a staunch supporter of keeping the old ways alive, he also trains new weavers and travels far and wide helping to get old looms to run right. The reason for the return, other than to have a good natter about life as a loomsman (I totally made up this word), is that Daniels's dream of creating "Loom-Land" is finally coming to fruition, having bought...

Fashion circularity - With Dr Lynn Wilson, Centre of Circular Design

We're staying in Scotland for this weeks episode, with Dr Lynn Wilson, currently of the Centre of  Circular Design. Lynn has had an incredibly long and varied career in the clothing industry, including working in vocational art and textile training in a high-security prison, helping communities in Africa build a textile business, public policy and Zero Waste Scotland. There is mention of moths, and we may also agree to disagree on how great an idea the leasing of jeans actually is.

You can find Lynn on the web at and

Bleak with a sprinkle of joy - With Sofi Thanhauser, author of "Worn"

This week my guest is Sofi Thanhauser, professor and author of the book "Worn - A people's history of clothing". We get into the history of the various fibres, the implications on society and the development of clothing technology through the ages. The evolution of our clothing has been a very mixed joy, depending on your position, so expect som insight you might not be aware of. Oh, and we hear about the Dumptique and thrifting Norwegian sweaters in Budapest?

You can find Sofi's website and info about "Worn" on the web here.

Garmology is...

So, two students started making spectacles - With Jamie Bartlett, Banton Frameworks

Today's guest is Jamie Bartlett of Banton Frameworks, a small, independent maker of optical frames outside Glasgow in Scotland. Jamie tells the fascinating story of their bumpy start, making frames from random materials in a car, how they've since built the business frame by frame, collaborating with similarly minded brands and how rewarding it is to have loyal fans of their work. We also get a crash course in German hinges, varieties of acetate and why eyewear is an important part of our personal expression. 

You can find Banton Frameworks on the web here and on Instagram a...

Still buying shoes in a world on fire - With Alec Leach, former editor of Highsnobiety (#102)

This week's guest on the pod is Alec Leach, former editor of the product hype website Highsnobiety and author of the book "The world is on fire and we@re still buying shoes". We talk about how he got started in Highsnobiety and what the work there involved, how streetwear brands have changed the way brands market their goods and how tough it is to change the way we consume clothes. Oh, and how a luggage brand brashly proclaimed their handbag could save the planet.

You can buy Alec@s book on his website at


A slower focus - With Dr Aoife Long, journalist

For the first episode of season 5, and the milestone 100th episode, my guest is Aoife Long, a slow fashion writer from Ireland. Aoife is dedicated to seeking out the stories and craftspeople of her country, putting the spotlight on mainly small, independent makers with a conscious approach to their surroundings and what they produce. We get into the situation for Irish wool and how the old breeds are seeing a renaissance, the reality of Irish linen, how gold is not great, the need to share and more. 

You can find Aoife's newsletter at, the m...

Getting Higgy with it - With Philippa Grogan of Eco-Age

In the season finale of season 4, I'm visited by Philippa Grogan, sustainability consultant in Eco-Age, an agency for sustainable business strategy. Since graduating, Philly has been on a fascinating journey (literally) through the garment industry of Asia, before working in Eco-Age to help companies lower their impact on people and the planet. Our conversation covers the recent developments in the Higg MSI situation, fossil-based fashion, greenwashing and intentions to become sustainable, how recent vintage isn't all that sustainable, how easy it is to blame consumers and using celebrities to help bring focus on the issues at hand. It's not...

A fashion more circular - With Professor Becky Earley (#98)

Professor Becky Earley guests Garmology this week to talk about making the industry of fashion more circular, and what circularity actually means. We cover topics such as how much we wear our clothes, the problems charity shops face, the pros and cons of user-to-user reselling, how the production of clothes has been steeply increasing and the interest from the garment industry in making in a better way, the ways materials need to change to enable recycling, how nothing can replace polyester and why garments workers can't just be paid a proper wage. And how it feels to have been...

Real as rivets - With Joe Schindler of Joe and Co (#97)

The magic school bus of Garmology stops today in rainy Manchester to take onboard Joe Schindler for a salty chat about denim, small-scale production, how to stumble and keep going in business, how being your own boss means working all hours and the value in making only stuff you really like yourself. Oh, and what customer segment actually bought those very expensive jeans?

You can find Joe & Co on the web here and on Instagram as @joeandcodenim

Garmology is researched, booked, hosted, edited, published, paid for and everything else by Nick Johannessen. There is no...

We met knitters in run-down pubs - With Genevieve Sweeney, knitwear (#96)

This week Genevieve Sweeney stops by to chat about the easy path of starting her knitwear brand. Or rather, how wanting to start making knitwear led her on a tour of discovery of discarded and obsolete machinery, meeting contacts in run-down pubs, locating expert knitters that had been put out to pasture, her husband becoming a trojan horse to get a foot inside the factory doors and be taken seriously. Oh, and how satisfying it is to succeed!

You can find Genevieve Sweeney Knitwear on the web here and on Instagram as @genevievesweeney

Garmology is...

Authenticity: Reclaiming Reality in a Counterfeit Culture - With Alice Sherwood, author (#95)

Today's guest is Alice Sherwood, author of the new book "Authenticity: Reclaiming Reality in a Counterfeit Culture". We have a fascinating chat about the counterfeit goods and how brands are actually helping the fakers, storytelling in marketing, how almost all fashion design is an incremental process, influencer culture and how AI is making is both enabling the theft of information and helping catch the thieves at the same time. Oh, and who really invented the tuxedo, Yves St Laurent or Ralph Lauren?

"Authenticity: Reclaiming Reality in a Counterfeit Culture" is available from all usual sources, or direct...

The last button maker in the land - With David Courtney, Courtney & Co (#94)

This week's guest is David Courtney of Courtney & Co, arguably the last of the traditional button makers in the UK. I was keen to invite David for a chat about how he happened into what is a rather unusual business, requiring as it does both a plethora of machinery and some rather special source materials. Not to mention the skills and knowledge to make buttons actually happen! A challenge indeed, not least when customs officers get in touch to ask about the box of white stuff that's arrived from South America...

You can find Courtney & Co on...

Making good in an old factory - With James Eden, Private White VC (#93)

When you find yourself having a crisis of career and decide that taking on a garment factory from 1853 in the heart of Manchester sounds like a great idea, you're clearly not faint of heart or work shy. James Eden visits the podcast to talk about how he came to start Private White VC, as a tribute to his heroic great grandfather, the difficulties in moving from being a maker for others to becoming a brand, the history of Manchester as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the challenges of working in an old factory and making the very best...

A twisty tale of endurance - With Chris Hewitt, Hewitt Denims Mills (#92)

Today's guest is Chris Hewitt. Chris started out in 2008 wanting to make a pair of sustainable jeans. He'd been dealing in vintage for a while and had a mate that had briefly worked in the fashion industry, so how hard could it be? Harder than he'd imagined, as it turned out. Tune in for the twisty tale of trying to find fabric, spending all your money on strange samples, having some denim woven in the UK and then trying to sleuth who actually wove this denim, striking deals over a mug of tea and a biscuit, and... This is...

Keeping craft alive - With Tim Little of Grenson (#91)

In this episode, I'm visited by Tim Little, owner of traditional shoemaker Grenson. We chat about how Tim initially planned to be an accountant, took a turn into marketing, found his passion for shoes while working for Adidas, and went on to own one of the grand old names of Northamptonshire shoe making. Topics include the need for considered progress, taking care of your staff, vegan leather and how difficult it is for traditional goods to stay relevant in modern times.

You can find Tim Little and Grenson on the web at and on Instagram...

Mindful mending - With Molly Martin (#90)

This week's guest is Molly Martin, author, illustrator and mender. Molly's book "The Art of Repair" is a wonderful combination of techniques and illustrated garment stories, and real garmology material. We chat about the historical necessity of repairing garments, how wartime and rationing made it important to be able to repair what you wore, the Japanese techniques of Sashiko and Boro, how visibly mending is a political act and how some brands are now teaching their customers to mend.

You can find Molly on the web here and on Instagram as @molly.a.martin


The learning curve - With Becca and Ben of Pajotten (#89)

Continuing down the path to the doors of small makers, today we find ourselves sharing time with Becca and Ben of Pajotten. Established in 2016 as a midlife change of pace and direction, Pajotten makes workwear-inspired garments one at a time, to order and size, building a loyal customer base along the way. We chat about their background and inspiration, the process of making and the joy of repeat customers. And get stuck in the odd rabbit-hole underway!

You can find Pajotten on the web here, and on Instagram as @pajotten.

Garmology is researched, booked, hosted...

True blue renew - With Janelle Hanna - White Weft (#88)

This week Janelle of White Weft in London drops by to talk about her life in the denim industry as a designer, how she is now upcycling worn-out denim into new products, the joy of repairing broken jeans, how stretchy jeans and elastane are the banes of recycling denim, designing fits, how the industry is a greenwashing nightmare, oh, and how almost none of the indigo dye we adore is actually from natural indigo plants.

You can find Janelle and White Weft on the web here and on Instagram as @white_weft.

Garmology is researched...

Slowly and properly made - With Niamh Carr of NemCee (#87)

After graduating with a Masters's Degree in Fashion and Business, Niamh wanted to start her own company, based on her own principles, values and way of doing things. We talk about studying fashion, how the obvious path goes into fast fashion, the difference between making things quick and easy versus taking your time to do it properly, how a career in garment making could be an attractive route for young people and how even a small and conscious business needs to be viable in the long run. Oh, and how making a single style to order at a time...

From Hackney with love - With Barbara and Nick, A State of Nature (#86)

Today's guests are Barbara and Nick, the due behind the small Hackney-based brand, A State of Nature. Heavily into the small-scale, well-crafted, detail-oriented, natural fabrics and direct sales school of business, building the business from the ground level with a focus on longevity and happy customers. We talk about the joys and frustrations and how coming from luxury fashion means setting high goals for your own crafted product.

You can find A State of Nature on the web here and on Instagram as @a_state_of_nature

Garmology is researched, booked, hosted, edited, published, paid...

Provably fit for purpose - With Martin Brooks of Shackleton (#85)

When you start a brand based on your admiration for the last great hero of exploration, you want to make sure you live up to the legend. Martin Brooks of Shackleton guests to talk about his decades-long obsession with Ernest Shackleton and his Antarctic quest, his values and leadership, and the understated heroics and achievements. Oh, and how they are going about making functional outerwear to last a long time, inviting customers to experience extreme conditions and keeping the legend of Shackleton and his men alive.

You can read more about Shackleton here.

Garmology is...

It gets better with wear! - With Patrick Grant (#84)

This week I have the pleasure of talking to someone I've enjoyed countless hours of seeing on tv, Patrick Grant. Known to many as one of the judges of The Great British Sewing Bee, Patrick has many more things going on, such as owning a traditional Savile Row tailor and a Lancashire garment factory. He's also working to revitalise manufacturing in the UK with Community Clothing, creating a community of makers to contribute to increasing jobs, keeping a stable production and encourage investments. Patrick talks passionately about quality and craftsmanship, sustainability and the importance of proper socks!


Influencers: Get rich or lie trying - With Symeon Brown, journalist (#83)

Journalist Symeon Brown visits to talk about his new book about the world of influencers, "Get rich or lie trying". We cover the rise of the modern influencers, how social media has enabled new ways of guerilla marketing using young fans, the fashionable surgery and Brazilian butt lifts, the dropshipping and financial trader scams and at the end of the day, who is actually exploiting who?

You can find Symeon on Instagram and Twitter and more on his Linktree.

Garmology is researched, booked, hosted, edited, published, paid for and everything else by Nick Johannessen. There...

We are all cosplaying - With Holly Swinyard, author (#82)

Holly Swinyard returns to talk about the history of cosplay and the old origins, how we've always been into dressing up, the potential mental benefits, making costumes, the golden ages of cinema, comics and Japanese manga and anime. There's even a mention of the cringeworthy "Tweedman" (regular visitors will recall this...).

You can find Holly Swinyard on Instagram as @lilistprince and all relevant links on her LinkTree!

Garmology is researched, booked, hosted, edited, published, paid for and everything else by Nick Johannessen. There is no advertising or sponsorship, but you are welcome to support the...