You know who’s smart about fashion tech? Lorraine Sanders is. As a journalist, she has been intelligently covering fashion tech and wearables for years for publications including WWD, Fast Company, and the SF Chronicle. Now, she’s launched her own podcast, the Spirit of 608–and we’re so excited that more of her perspective is going to be in the world. Subscribe on iTunes now and learn all about it below!
Describe the Spirit of 608 podcast.
The way I often put it is this: dishin’ info and inspo from women at the forefront of F.E.S.T. That’s what I call the place where fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability and tech intersect. It’s an arena I see a lot more women coming into these days, and I truly think it’s the place where we’re going to find the future of fashion. So that’s the jumping off point, but the show itself is really set up to be inspiring and motivating and thought-provoking and informative no matter what industry you’re in by putting the spotlight on really badass, admirable women and their entrepreneurial journeys.
It’s an interview-driven show, so I feature one guest per episode, and we dive as deeply as we can into their path, their advice for other female entrepreneurs, what they’ve learned and how they accomplished certain milestones. I also try to keep it from getting stuffy or dry, because I’m not a super buttoned-up person, nor am I someone who’s spent a ton of time in the corporate world. So you won’t hear us talking about how we’re going to ideate something or talking in buzz words. Really, the goal is to bring community, support, great advice and entertainment to women who need it to push through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship in general and in the fashion space, specifically. If someone is having a rough day, but starts listening on a run or during her commute and gets a sense of, okay, I can do this, I’m going to silence that little voice in my head that’s telling me how imperfect everything is, that’s exactly what I’m going for here.
What inspired you to create Spirit of 608?
It’s really the coming together of everything I’ve worked on over the last decade, but it took me a long time to figure out that this approach was the right, best, most effective way to use my skills and who I am as a person to get closer to my end goal, which is really to help push fashion into a better place – both for consumers and for the people producing it.
I’ve covered fashion and the intersection of fashion and technology for a number of years, and I’ve been a journalist for more than ten, and I love reporting and covering the news, but I’ve honestly always been more of a cheerleader than a comfortable adversary, and I think you have to be comfortable in that adversarial role if you want to be a really great investigative business journalist. I’m happiest when I can show off really cool, badass things that are happening in the world that I think other people should know about. And I’ve always had the sense that fashion is about much more than just aesthetics. I had a blog quite a while back called SF Indie Fashion that was about indie designers, and it had a loyal readership, and the whole point was to support creative people and get fashion fans to think about the origins of their clothes. And then I had another site called Digital Style Digest, and the whole point there was how much technology is changing fashion, and it allowed me to really fawn over some of the entrepreneurs I admire.
And then, after a stint working for a startup last year, I fell in love with podcasting and the whole audio format as a way to create a really intimate connection with people that I think is pretty impossible to do in the same way online these days.
So this is the result of all of that, basically poured into one bucket. By the way, if you’re curious about why I called it Spirit of 608, here’s the explanation.
Tell us about F.E.S.T.
It’s fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability and tech. And like I often tell people, I think it’s the future of fashion. I really believe that technology is enabling fashion to become something that has the potential to function more sustainably and become a force for social responsibility in the world. And the intersection of those things also has huge potential for empowering women, whether it’s by letting a mom build a business that’s in line with her values around her own schedule or being the catalyst for income and improvements for artisans in another country. I spent several months trying to articulate this space that was very clear in my head: I could see it happening all around me, women literally flocking to jobs in this space and trying to build companies with ties to all these things, but when I tried to explain it to other people, they looked at me like, okay, so wait, can you say that again?
One day, I was sitting at my desk writing an email using that long, convoluted series of words for what felt like the millionth time, and it dawned on me, oh, the first letters of those words form the word fest. And how awesome is that? Doesn’t everyone want to get festive every once in a while?
Who have you featured so far in your podcasts and who is on your schedule?
Thus far, I’ve had the amazing privilege of getting to talk to so many incredible women – about 33 in all thus far. The shows that have gone live include conversations with Cuyana co-founder and CEO Karla Gallardo, Liquido Active’s Renata Facchini, early stage startup founder Phuong Mai of P.Mai, Tradesy founder and CEO Tracy DiNunzio and Lucy Beard of 3D printed shoe company Feetz.
On deck and coming out in the next few weeks, you can expect interviews with Julie Wainwright of The RealReal, Who What Wear’s Katherine Power, Rocksbox co-founders Meagan Rose and Maia Bittner, Bow & Drape’s Aubrie Pagano, Ecohabitude’s Kristen Drapesa, Zady’s Maxine Bedat, blogger Jordan Reid and many others.
It’s a great mix of perspectives, and I am really trying to keep it diverse in terms of people’s backgrounds, where they’re located and what stage they happen to be in their business.
What was your greatest challenge when creating Spirit of 608 and what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
The greatest challenge has been and continues to be just clearing everything else off my desk to focus on this project as my one thing. I still contribute to publications such as WWD and the San Francisco Chronicle, and I plan to keep writing, but I’ve really had to dial back my work for other people in order to make this show the best it can be. And that’s not always easy, especially when your identity has been wrapped up in writing for other people for so many years.
Where do you see Spirit of 608 in the future? Do you have any specific ideas about future podcasts or segments you would like to target?
Kicking !@#$%^&* and taking names. Just kidding. I try not to have too specific a future vision for anything, but really just aim to keep my eye on the underlying intention and trying to get close to that every day. And the underlying intention here is to motivate, inspire, inform and entertain women so that they can kick more !@#$%^&* as they’re trying to create badass businesses that are going to push fashion into a better place. And a secondary intention is to elevate and spread the word about women who are hard at work doing amazing things in F.E.S.T. So each day, I try to keep those two things in mind and make sure everything I am doing feeds back into one of those goals.
Find out more about Spirit of 608 by going to their website. Check out the Spirit of 608 show by listening on Spirit of 608, iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Lastly, Lorraine has created a free guide to Instagram featuring tips and advice from guests in the first episodes. It’s real advice and what’s working right now from women in F.E.S.T. It’s available for download here.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables. You look nice today!