Garmology podcast

Garmology is a podcast about menswear, old and new, from a perspective of buying, wearing, collecting, evaluating and appreciating. With regular co-hosts and interesting guests, the aim is to provide a non-fashion view of what men might wear if they knew more about it. Expect plenty of opinions, but pretty much no mention of tailoring or pocket squares.
Garmology is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and wherever else you usually find podcasts. Or even just listen here on the page.
Please follow, leave a nice review (or none at all!) and do let me know if you have any requests for topics or suggestions for guests.
Nick Johannessen is the host of Garmology, the editor of the WellDressedDad blog and WellDressedDad on Instagram. You can email Nick as WellDressedDad (at) Gmail.com.

There are currently 57 full episodes out. Yes, over 50! A real milestone!

Keen waxer of waxed jackets, Ryan Mallinson, is back for a follow-up. We get into a few of the ideas behind slower fashion, buying what you actually need instead of what is available, taking care of your kit, repairing and improving, building a business from scratch, taking risks, creating a brand and building a community, being genuine in business, and more!

Gary Newbold returns for this episode to talk around the topic of “buy better, buy less”, what choices we make in how things are made, which fabrics we use, what it’s like to work in the clothing business and more. There is a lot of talk of which fabrics and fibres we should avoid, but which should we seek out? This is probably the most ASMR episode yet, for those in the know.

One of the most fundamental pieces of human knowledge is tying knots, and even more so when it comes to our footwear. Lacing and tying shoes is something we learn at an early age and most of us use this knowledge daily all our life. My guest today is Ian Fieggen, self-styled Professor Shoelace, inventor of better knot and keeper of the definitive website for lacing and tying. We talk about how this came about, what knots mean to him, which knots for what purpose, why it matters how you lace your shoes, teaching knots to children, and how even James Bond can’t tie his granny knot right.

You can find Ian on Instagram as  @profshoelace and Ian’s Shoelace Site at www.fieggen.com/shoelace/

An icon of men’s style, fashion business guru, the face of #menswear, a voracious collector of garms and a non-fungible digital Lego figure. Nick Wooster is the guest of this weeks Garmology!

We talk about his early days longing for a cashmere sweater in Salina, Kansas, moving to New York and eventually scaling the grades within fashion, the randomness of becoming a style icon and what it’s like to still be in it for the clothes.

This weeks guest is Mark Larese-Casanova, an old friend of mine from the head days of menswear forums. Mark is a fellow fan of well-made, well designed and interesting menswear, so much so that he has recently changed from being in front of students to becoming a student. We talk about making garments and how knowledge changes your perspective on what you wear. Oh, and designing and making your own clothes.

My guest in this episode is Jack Millington, founder of Billy Tannery, a business that started with the plan of using the otherwise discarded hides of goats. We talk about the inspiration to start a new business, the reality of bringing a crazy idea to fruition, the situation for goats and how collaborations make it possible to create a viable business.

The wife and husband team of Sarah and Paul have been running SEH Kelly since 2009. Quietly designing, making and revising a stream of garments that have found appreciative owners. All made in the British isles, from British cloths, and all backed by Sarah’s tailoring and Paul’s prose. From their HQ, which is basically a cold shed in Shoreditch, they are a great example of doing things well and being happy staying small.

It has been said that if you don’t notice the clothes used in a film, the designer has done a good job. Sometimes though, the clothes, like the music, the sets and props, become more than just background. For me, the films of Guy Ritchie embody this, so to have a good chat about precisely this subject, I sat down with Christopher Laverty, author of “Fashion in film”, the Clothes on Film website and an utter anorak when it comes to what is being worn on the big screen.

Arguably, one of the most compelling television shows in recent years is The Great British Sewing Bee, a fierce, yet friendly, competition between keen hobbyist sewers, with warmth, humour and great opportunities for learning. I can only imagine countless new sewers being inspired to thread their machine and start creating. My guests are Matt Gage and Liz Grylls from the 2020 season and we talk about getting started, applying for the Sewing Bee, what it was like on set, appreciating clothes you have made yourself, and the murderous nature of transforming the unexpected into marvels in only 90 minutes. Oh, and what are Patrick, Esme and Joe really like?

You can find Matt on the web at keepbritainsewing.com and on Instagram as @mattgagesewing and Liz on YouTube here, on Instagram as @x_sewingpunk_x and on LinkTree.

Tanmay Saxena has enjoyed an unusual route to where he is today, from studying IT in India to starting Lane FortyFive in London. We talk about how he got started, being noticed in Japan, how making to order allows a unisex and made to measurements approach slow fashion, sustainability and how people should think of dressing more as art than a way to merely hide their bodies from sight.

Sarmilla is a freelance menswear designer based in London. We talk about her background, ideas and experiences, how menswear and womenswear differ, the importance of style over fashion, clothes brands wanting to become lifestyle brands, and launching a podcast featuring women working in menswear. Oh, and will showing dresses on runways and boyband celebs make more men want to wear dresses?

You can find Sarmillas illustrations on Instagram as @sr_journal and the new podcast “Menswear by a woman” is available in all the usual podcast apps.

Sam Binstead enjoys the good things in life. Coffee, wine, cheese and now, a slow fashion style. We talk about what slow fashion entails, where to find the good stuff, the issues in how we dress and ultimately, is “slow fashion” a good name for it? Sam vlogs about a considered lifestyle and buying better and less on YouTube. You can find Sam Binstead on Instagram as @SamBinstead and on YouTube here.

David Evans, otherwise known as Grey Fox, has been blogging about menswear for 10 years. Championing menswear for the older man, be it classic suits, vintage denim or outdoors tweed, David has built a wide following. We talk about the madness of social media, the problem of both liking new clothes and being pro sustainability, how old cars fit in with heritage brands and enjoy a good laugh.

A popular guest from season one makes a welcome return! Sara from Sartorialab is on the pod for a light chat about fits, fails, hairstyles after hair loss, hats, the fallacy of buying the same stuff over and over, dressing for weddings and quite a bit of this and that!

Daniel Harris started the London Cloth Co, a micro-mill in London in 2011, with one ancient and broken loom. Since then he has accumulated and restored many more, woven for many illustrious customers, mingled with gangsters and aided the International Space Station. Oh, and helped dress Han Solo.


Award-winning British fashion innovator Christopher Raeburn joins the podcast to talk about how he got involved in upcycling military surplus, creating high fashion from vintage escape maps and parachutes, how change is happening even in huge companies such as Timberland and how the spread of ideas and inspiration is as valuable as producing a saleable product. We also get into buy better/buy less, sustainability, the reuse of fibres, greenwashing and whether the high volume/low-cost business model is viable going ahead. And as a treat, we end up with The Lads, Christopher’s home worm farm/food waste recycling effort.

Find out more about Christopher and the various Raeburn divisions here:

Christopher Raeburn Instagram

Raeburn Design website / Instagram

Raeburn Lab website / Instagram

A slight diversion guest-wise today, as it’s my sister Emma, a psychologist, that picks up the phone for a fly on the wall style chat about topics within the Garmology sphere. We talk about the psychology of social media, why retail therapy has become a thing, peak hipster, why women get poorer clothes, the issues and pitfalls of ordering online, where the real deals can be done, our mums’ taste is outed and much more. Unusually, I get to talk more in this episode!

This weeks episode is all about Harris Tweed, a legend among cloths and arguably the most socially significant of fabrics. My guests this week are Lorna Macaulay and Rebecca Hutton from the Hebridean Islands. Lorna is CEO of the Harris Tweed Authority, promoters and protectors of the tweed, and Rebecca Hutton, independent single-width weaver at Taobhtuath Tweeds. We talk about the history of weaving, life on the islands, how actual Harris Tweed came to be, the significance of the Orb symbol and the legal protection, life as a weaver, the ups and downs of Harris Tweed and more. Lots of good stories, solid information and more than a few laughs.

The guest this week is Rebecca Perkins, acclaimed author and midlife coach. We talk about confidence in mid-life, finding your purpose, not being limited by labels, being ourselves, learning to sew and write and the problems of living your life through social media.

Rebecca’s links:

My guest this week is Jason Kirk, director of the family firm Kirk and Kirk eyewear. We talk about how we go about buying glasses, why they can be so expensive, the differences in the material used for frames and the varieties of lenses, whether it matters where things are made, buying from the behemoths of the optical world versus an independent shop, how glasses fit and whether you should use a stylist or find your own expression.

Sheffield was the birthplace of stainless steel and pivotal in the Industrial Revolution. Cutlery and knives have been proudly stamped “Made in Sheffield” since 1871. My guest today is Michael May, an independent maker of knives in the old Portland Works in Sheffield. Michael keeps the old craft alive, in one of the buildings from when it started, having his previous Damascus steel hammered out in the original forge from back then. We talk about how becoming a knifemaker was a non-obvious, but necessary career evolution and the craft that goes into his knives.

A new year and a fresh season of Garmology! In this episode, my guest is Sophie, co-founder of Stanley Biggs Clothiers and total enthusiast for the roaring ’20s. Stanley Biggs a heritage clothing brand, unashamedly inspired by the past, in style as well as in spirit, taking a firm stand against fast fashion and offshoring by producing hats, knitwear and more in the UK.
Sophie and I talk about the route from living history to reenactment and on to the possibility of Cosplaying a full-on vintage menswear style. Underway Sophie regals me with tales of derring-do in an 80-year-old Austin Chummy and how the comfort zone is challenged, speed limits inapplicable and long-distance travel actually possible. A big question arises as to how the sense of smell may be impacted by having racks of old clothes in your living room, and how do you actually make that happen?

Season 1:

By popular demand, we have recorded a special festive bonus edition for your enjoyment. Featuring regular co-hosts Shaun, Dachi, Jon and Nick. We reached out to listeners to ask for their questions and suggestions for topics, so what is delivered here is clearly the pinnacle of what committed listeners of Garmology want to hear more about! We get into what we’d wear as a Santa, whether wool knitwear should be itchy or not, modern tech fabrics versus old favourites, style icons, celebrities with their own stylists, the problem of trench coats and more.

This is an unusually long episode! Normal service will be resumed in season 2, starting early January.

It’s time to call it a wrap and close season 1, so I gathered three of the regular guests for a free-form chat about this and that, the problem of vintage rags, the siren call of the unfindable, why we are the nightmare of retailers, finding rabbit holes, pencil-sharpeners, how Britpop killed UK fashion, dads in parkas and the question of what Patrick Grant really smells like.

In this episode, my guest is Albert, NY residing classical music promotor and man of fine culture. At the weekends he heads to his secret upstate lair where he dons his heritage wear and becomes UpstateGuyStyle, another of the rare old dudes with a penchant for denim, boots and clothes with a story. Add into the mix that Albert also hosts his own podcast, Vir Vulnderabilis Vir, and the stage is set for a good hour of oldish dudes talking about their pants, or trousers, as the case may be. And more.

The guest this episode is Holly Swinyard, style chameleon in many a Cosplay getup. Holly is editor and podcaster for the Cosplay Journal, a contributor to Chap magazine,
We talk about having fun with clothes, dressing for pleasure and self-confidence, conformity, ignoring rules and how cosplay intersects with dressing up in our daily lives. Oh, and a shared admiration for books the late Terry Pratchett.

This weeks guest is Gary Newbold, maker of premium, handmade British outerwear as English Utopia, and his non-linear career progression from life as a competition cyclist to becoming head of design at Barbour, and what to do after that. Pearls of wisdom are included, so pay attention!

This weeks episode sees Garmology regular Dachi back to discuss vintage opportunities for the coming cold and wet season. Topics covered include vintage sizing, cashmere loungewear, old quality brands, vintage weight Harris tweed, rainwear perverts, making for profit or quality, how flimsy modern workwear is and how hard-earned heritage is being sacrificed for quick cash, the difference between hoarding duplicates and being a serious collector, cleaning and repairing wool garments and is there more vintage clothing available for women than for men? And that’s only the first 20 minutes!

My guest in this episode is Thomas A Turner, acclaimed author of “The Sports Shoe – A history from field to fashion”, the definitive book about the evolution of the sports shoe form the early days of tennis shoes, via trainers, technology, fashion, cult reissues and the current days’ hypebeast mania of the collectable collaborative investment sneakers.

David Wilkinson has had a long and varied career in retail, from a small-town hardware store, via Harrods in London and major department stores in Doha and St. Petersburg, to currently in charge of Steen & Strøm, the Oslo department store that has been trading since 1797. We talk about David’s early days in retail, how retail has changed over time and how the person to person interaction can never be replaced by online shopping. Underway names are dropped, experience reminisced and tales told. Such as how you go about selling crime novels to Michael Caine. Oh, and of course we talk about sustainability.

My guest today is John Sugden of Campbell’s of Beauly, a traditional highland tailor and accessories shop outside Inverness with a continuous history going back to 1858. We get into his background in the garment industry, the place of traditional tailoring and fabrics in modern times, how workers on the Highland estates still use unique tweeds for their workwear, doing ethical business in times of fast fashion, the role of profit margins, Royal Warrants and in general running a business far from the madding crowd.

In this episode, my guest is Holly Butterworth. Holly and her husband, Colin, have a combined 35 years in the vintage garment trade and now own a vintage clothes shop called Butterworth Vintage in Totnes, Devon, UK. We talk about the vintage trade, sourcing, picking and pricing stock, trends and fashion in the vintage world, and some tips on how to deal with the smell of old clothes. Naturally, we also touch on the topic of sustainability, and how actually using up clothes is clearly a better option than continuously making more. Also, Holly brings up one of her most remarkable finds…

In today’s episode, my guest is Ryan Mallinson, Yorkshireman and keen maintainer of the waxed jacket legacy. Ryan owns a small company offering repairs and rewaxing of classic waxed cotton jackets such as Barbour, Belstaff and John Partridge. We talk about the process of rewaxing, why it is a good thing, common problems, how to deal with smells, fashion versus function, which brands are better than others and being a fan of James Bond and “that jacket”Oh, and how taking care of your stuff and using it a long time is sustainable.

This episode finds Shaun back for another chat about, well, clothes and stuff really. More specifically the comfort we find in cloths, in which ways clothes may be comfortable and whether there is a disproportionate relationship between comfort and style.
Underway a startling revelation is made (just what does Nick wear to collect his mail?), possibly spurious allegations are put forward (does Shaun really have a Spice Girls t-shirt?) and a pause in conversation is prompted when Magnus, the keeshond puppy, decides to cause domestic havoc.
Best enjoyed with a mug of tea, or a woodland walk, or even both at the same time, according to Garment Gazers Gazette (a made-up publication that provides the best promotional quotes).

Many men find shopping for clothes both tedious, tricky and best left to a partner or mother. My guest today is Sarah Gilfillan, London-based style consultant, personal shopper and sartorial hand-holder through her business Sartorialab. We talk about how men shop, becoming aware of what suits you and not, how many clothes you need and how to get the most out of what you have. Oh, and the baffling concept of “smart casual”, so often mentioned and so rarely quite understood.

It’s easy enough to keep a narrow interest. We like what we like, more of the same can be a matter of “yes please!”. Finding an interest in something we’ve not previously been very interested in at all? Now that takes the seductive moves of a true lothario. In this weeks episode, Dachi tries to make Nick see the light when it comes to wrist-mounted timepieces. By weaving tales of history, bravery, luxury and values, Dachi pulls out all the stops. This is without a doubt another unmissable tet a tet.

S01 E21: Today’s guest is Martin Ridne of Swedish micro-brand Jernvike, literally a husband and wife brand from Stockholm. Jernvirke has been in business for around a year and I wanted to check in with Martin to hear about the experience of starting a clothing brand from scratch, what they bring to an already crowded table, being hands-on with the factory that makes for you, the trust-issues you face with your suppliers, and what sustainability means when you’re still a young business. We get into all this and more, I hope you enjoy it.

PS: The title of the episode? You’ll need to listen for the explanation 🙂

S01 E20: For this weeks episode, I’m joined again by my pal Shaun for a chat about clearing out our closets. A kind of guys version of the minimal Marie Kondo rage maybe? Well, not quite, but we get into knowing what you have before looking for more, what sort of stuff should be discarded, and what happens to it after we say farewell to our unwanted garms. Underway there are the usual tangents taken, as fruitful conversational alleys are discovered. We even get to disagree about denim: comfort or cardboard?

S01 E19: In this episode, I talk to Sophie Miller, designer at traditional British maker Yarmouth Oilskins on the coast of Norfolk. The company will shortly be celebrating 125 years of continuous history within the business of workwear. Originally supplying fishermen with their working clothes, from sweaters to oilskins, to a wider field of clothes for workers. Three years ago the heritage brand was launched, remaking designs from the archives. We talk about the history, making in Britain and being an important local business with dedicated employees.

S01 E18: Today’s guest is Jon Fowler, inveterate garmsman and collector of the weird, obscure, traditional and bespoke. We talk about Jon’s background in clothes, growing up on a farm, his love for waxed cotton and tweed, going deep into the world of army surplus and how what once was cheap and available is now rare, collectable and super expensive. The conversation takes a turn into British Made, how a real history counts, and how faking up a heritage works against brands, ending up in fast fashion. In a final twist we’re introduced to a high-end brand very few have heard about, and Jon bumped into the eccentric designer on the street in Brighton. Clearly this episode is another unmissable hour of quality chat!

Find Jon Fowler on Instagram as @heavyjon and read his Garmsmans Dozen here

S01 E17: In today’s episode, I talk to Lewis Hull of online reseller Marrkt. We talk about the business of reselling high-end menswear on consignment, whether fashion is an aspect in this segment, the current state of the denim industry and whether old gold will beat fast fashion.

S01 E16: In this episode, I talk to David Henderson-Stewart of the Russian watch company Raketa. Based in St Petersburg, Raketa is the only remaining maker of watches in Russia and their uniquely different timepieces have a long and interesting tradition. Made in their entirety in the small factory by a workforce that has seen much history happen outside. Used by Russian cosmonauts and Arctic explorers, the story of Raketa is both intriguing and fascinating.

S01 E15: In this weeks episode titled “The art of the prance”, my chum Dachi is back for another highbrow chat about a vital topic within garmology, prancing, or as some may refer to it, “pimping the fit”, “gilding the garms” or even “peacocking”. We’re talking about adding flair to the mundane, mashing up the normcore and disobeying rules with a vengeance. At least that was what we set out to do, though we may have experienced topic drift underway. Still, a vital chat featuring two opinionated guys. Possibly unmissable.

S01 E14: The guest in this episode is Bryan Shettig. Bryan owns the brand The Rite-Stuff, specialising in early 1900’s workwear. I wanted to talk to him about having garments made in Japan, whether the quality is as legends say and also about the challenges involved in finding a factory. We get into quite a lot of other stuff as well, so it made for an interesting hour-long chat.

S01 E13: The world of influencers is a strange and new one. On the one hand, it’s one of the most aspired to jobs among teens today, on the other, it’s clearly not without controversy. What exactly is influencing all about, and is it strictly above board? In this episode, I talk to influencer and social media guru Nik Speller and get the lowdown.

S01 E12: The title really does say it all. In this episode, Shaun is back for a chat and the topic is the clothing we don’t like. Garmental prejudice, if you like. There is even disagreement about certain items, so the tension is running high. Controversial topics are put on the table, only to be quickly snatched away. Some marginally sage advice is even dispersed. In a brief survey, 8/10 respondents rated this episode as “quite ok”, so clearly it’s unmissable!

S01E11: Ant Hicks owns Assembly, a small menswear shop in the idyllic market town of Frome in Somerset. We talk about the reality of being small and local when faced with the online retail mastodonts, the value of where things are made and the importance of sustainability.

S01E10: Much is said about the environmental impact and sustainability of our clothes. Which fibres are good, which are not so good. Should we upcycle, recycle, downcycle, send to landfill or wear them threadbare? What role do chemicals play, and are they all good? In this episode, I talk with Norwegian Research Professor Ingun Grimstad Klepp at Oslo Metropolitan University. Ingun researches sustainable textiles, clothing, laundry and leisure consumption and has written numerous articles and books of these themes.
The answers to the questions above are both startling and uncomfortable!

S10E09: In this episode, I talk to Iain Trickett of Trickett England. We talk about being proud of where you come from, being part of the local community, making good things for good people and is Made in England all it’s cracked up to be?

S00E08: Pretty much everything we do is influenced by what is around us and what has gone before us. Here is another rambling chat with Shaun and Nick, including a parasol that keeps toppling over and references to various subcultures.

00E07: In this episode, my guest is Miguel de Almeida, owner and creative director of British footwear brand Marcus de Shoes. Miguel takes me through the necessary and vital steps in keeping your quality footwear in good shape, so it can be enjoyed and used for its full potential lifespan. It’s both less involved and more involved than you might think, but at the end of the day, with quite a little effort, tools and products, you too can do it. Marcus de Shoes can be found on Instagram as @marcusdeshoes and the web as https://marcus-de.com/

S00E06: In this episode, my co-host is my friend Dachi from Brighton and we enjoy a Sunday morning chat about brands that find favour with us, and why that is so. We ruminate upon what may make a brand interesting and whether a designer working on his own may be more interesting creatively than design by committee.

S00E05: In this episode, I talk tweed with Rebecca Hutton, an independent weaver of Harris Tweed on the Isle of Harris on the Hebridean Isles off the coast of Scotland. We talk about the history and social significance of the tweed, what it entails to be an independent weaver and what the future of Harris Tweed looks like.

S00E04: In this episode, I talk with Nick Hussey of FRAHM Jackets about his philosophy when it comes to designing garments for his brand. We talk about jacket design, the influence of classic jackets, what needs a jacket needs to fill and more.

S00E03: In this episode, my co-host is my friend Shaun from Glasgow and we talk buying decent clothes, getting value for money, at what price point you might find “peak value” and why “buy better, buy less” may not be entirely sensible.

S00E02: In this episode, my co-host is my friend Dachi from Brighton and we talk about the various ways we look at the value of clothes and heritage, vintage and reproduction clothing. Is there a valid point to reproducing items that are still widely available?

00E01: In this episode, my co-host is my friend Shaun from Glasgow and we talk about heritage, provenance and branding. Where are things made, what is the brand history and does it really matter?