The Seams: a podcast and occasional NPR series about fashion as history, culture, business and art.
  • Episode 16: Seminole Cattlemen and Cowboys. On the savannas of South Florida, a 500- year tradition of cattle keeping. Photo: Carlton Ward Jr./National Geographic Creative
  • Episode 15: The Seams All-Irish Podcast celebrates the revival of handspun tweed, an Irish immigrant's success in America, an Irish designer and the first-ever Irish female ambassador to America.
  • The Seams with Jacki Lyden travels the globe to look at fashion and clothing as culture, history, business, and entertainment. Photo: Will O’Leary. Subscribe on iTunes
  • Episode 13: Artist Nick Cave built furry, wearable sculptures called Soundsuits for a September 2010 spread in Vogue shot by photographer Raymond Meier. The spread includes Dolce & Gabbana and Tod’s purses, J. Mendel mittens, a Pierre Hardy boot, and a Proenza Schouler bag. Photos appear in Art + Fashion: Collaborations and Connections Between Icons, published by Chronicle Books.
  • Episode 13: (Left) Designer Raf Simons, most recently Dior's creative director, collaborated with artist Sterling Ruby on a cult menswear collection for fall 2014. (Right) Comme Des Garçon designer Rei Kawakubo and cartoonist Matt Groening joined forces to put Groening's first comic strip, Life in Hell, on clothing and accessories for a 2011 collection. Photos appear in Art + Fashion: Collaborations and Connections Between Icons, published by Chronicle Books.
  • Contestants in the 2015 Miss Florida Seminole Princess Pageant, on the Hollywood reservation, meet the audience and show off their presentation garments. The dazzling skirts and capes feature traditional and contemporary Seminole Indian patchwork, a hand-crafted practice that's a century old. Photo: Will O'Leary.

Seminole Cattlemen and Cowboys

The Seminole Tribe of Florida likes to say it has been in cattle since Ponce de Leon brought the first cow from Spain to Florida in 1521. And indeed, explorers report that the great leader, Cowkeeper, had thousands of head of cattle in the 1700's. Now, the tribe has revived its cattle herds. Hear and see our story on Weekend All Things Considered, Sunday, Aug. 21 — and meet the cowboys, who happen to be Seminole Indians.

"Seminole People of the Cloth: A Patchwork History" is produced by The Seams' Jacki Lyden, with help from the NPR Arts Desk and NPR's Code Switch.

Spinning Irish Threads: from Cottage to Contemporary

Our all-Irish Episode is "live" for St. Patrick's Day. March seems like the perfect time for The Seams to go to Ireland. 2016 is especially resonant. This year, Ireland celebrates 100 years as a Republic, following the tragic events of the Easter Uprising of 1916. Now, a century later, there will be commemorations and celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic.

We interview Ireland's first-ever female ambassador to Washington, Anne Anderson. We'll also meet Tristan Donaghy of Studio Donegal-- and hear how his family revived hand-spun tweed-making. And it would't be an Irish story without the Irish diaspora. Knitwear designer Margaret O'Leary left County Kerry for San Francisco with her knitting needles-- it's a great story! Join our Irish wedding in Connemara-- you'll meet designer, Helen McAlinden. So many Irish threads--but we weave them together in this podcast!

A Princess In Patchwork: Sewing For The Miss Florida Seminole Princess Pageant

This pageant responds to the tribe’s need for a female ambassador to the wider world, in part by preserving traditions, especially patchwork, which is sewn by hand and which is the signifying “look” of the Seminoles. The young women who participate in the pageant are considered the "life-givers" of this small tribe.

The Great Osceola at the 50-Yard Line

Seminole patchwork is hand-cut or -torn into traditional symbols, it's worn on all kinds of garments, and it's a hallmark of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “Osceola at the 50-Yard Line” begins an NPR series from The Seams about this patchwork, which represents both the tribe and its adopted team, the Florida State University Seminoles, a college football powerhouse, in Tallahassee.

Since the late 1970s and with the tribe’s permission, an FSU student re-enactor plays the great Seminole hero at all of the university's home football games. Dressed in patchwork and authentic regalia handmade by the tribe, Osceola rides into the football stadium on an Appaloosa horse named Renegade and throws a flaming spear toward the 50-yard line. This Saturday marks the big-deal last game of the season for Florida State against their fiercest rivals, the University of Florida Gators!

"Seminole People of the Cloth: A Patchwork History" is produced by The Seams' Elaine Heinzman and Jacki Lyden, with help from the NPR Arts Desk and NPR's Code Switch. Thanks also to Georgi Goldstein.

What is The Seams?

A multi-platform podcast and NPR series dedicated to the human experience of wearing clothing, The Seams is deepening the intellectual curiosity around what we wear and, for the first time, bringing together millions of public-radio audience members and the fashion world. The Seams team includes veteran NPR producers and editors and was founded in 2014 by former NPR host Jacki Lyden, who felt public-radio audiences were missing the connection between clothing, a multi-billion dollar global industry, and culture. The Seams explores fashion and clothing from an anthropological perspective, sharing stories about the design, manufacture, symbolism, politics, traditions, and history behind garments.

Latest Episodes

  • Ep. 12: New York Fashion Week, Fashion Destiny, and Fashion Futurism

  • Ep. 11: Kickin' It with Cool: Man vs. Wardrobe, Kids Back to School, Wild College Football Uniforms

  • Ep. 10: The Politics of Style and Making the Best-Dressed List

  • Ep. 9: Is the Fashion Business Helping, or Ignoring, the Disabled?

  • Ep. 8: All Star Break, A Men’s Fashion First, Chanel's Nation

  • Ep. 7: Finding Flow: Gender Fluidity, Parkour Style, Taoist Stories, and Career Comebacks