Q&A with Joshua Williams of Fashion Consort, host of News Bytes

Joshua Williams, the
host of NewsBytes and creator of the weekly podcast series, Retail
Revolution, has been gaining attention for his in-depth conversations with
special guest speakers such as photographer Nigel Barker (America’s Next
Top Model) and Luisa Herrera-Garcia (SVP of Production at John Varvatos). A
professor and consultant, Williams is currently the MPS Associate Director
at Parsons School of Design and is often asked to speak at events worldwide
as well as appear on news broadcasts to share his expertise on current
issues in the fashion industry and fashion higher education. Also the
founder of Fashion Consort, a consultancy that draws on a deep network of
experts and professionals to produce content that inspires, entertains and
educates businesses, students and consumers. Williams launched his
short-form podcast in February as a more personal and intimate way to
connect with an audience. Less than a year later, News Bytes is being
distributed in partnership with FashionUnited to expand its international
reach.

Tell us about Fashion Consort, how did it begin?

I started Fashion Consort to really rethink what fashion could be. After
13 years in e-commerce and online marketing, I realized early on as a VP of
Marketing and a Director of Branding/Web Strategy that there was a
democratization of the fashion conversation. Today, our clients have
included Vh1 Save the Music, West East Magazine and Dossier Journal.
Fashion Consort is on a mission to facilitate learning and knowledge, and
to engage in open and honest conversations, all with a goal to better our
shared future.

Your podcasts seem to focus on current issues, innovations and
authentic human connections. How do you think the way we connect has
changed because of the global pandemic?

Before the pandemic, I’d always have to put on my armour going
into business meetings. I feel that this crisis has made the fashion
industry peer behind the screen, meaning it has allowed us to know
more about one another on a personal level. During video calls, we’re now
seeing a glimpse into the homes of major designers, executives or getting
to know our colleagues in their home life. I hope that when we come back
from this crisis, this more personal connection between everyone in the
industry will remain.

How do you think have these changes affected the fashion industry
creatively?

I think there has also been a renaissance of creativity that’s happening
as the fashion industry is propelled into adapting to new forms of content
creation and technology. Today, it’s Tik Tok, but tomorrow there will be a
new trend on the horizon.

Did you always want to work in fashion and can you share any advice
with young professionals just about to enter this industry?

I’ve always been curious and coming from a theater and music background,
a natural creator. It was while working on Broadway that I tried my hand at
producing a fashion show. That experience made me see how fast paced the
fashion industry is when it comes to realizing ideas, which was not the
case in theater. It really ignited my interest in this industry of
creativity and commerce.

When did you start recording podcasts and why?

As a fashion consultant, I help train companies, so I wanted to find a
better and more engaging way to communicate and educate people. Podcasts
are a great way to engage listeners differently, in a large part because
most people these days are so busy and may not have time to read long
articles.

Around February of this year, I started News Bytes to go
underneath and to really get behind the surface of the glimmering
image of fashion. For example, when I interview top executives or
celebrities, I ask them what issues they face in their jobs or the
struggles they have to overcome to remain at the top. In the realm of
fashion education, with all the students graduating digitally, I discuss
pressing issues such as how will they find jobs in the design industry
virtually.

Joshua interviews The Tailory with Danielle
Cooper and Phil

I was already teaching retail in class to graduate students at Parsons
right before Covid hit and I had all of these special guests, CEOs and
executives that I wanted to bring into class, but couldn’t anymore. So with
my colleague, Christopher Lacy, we started Retail Revolution and recorded
ten episodes within a week.

Then, we realized that more and more people were tuning in. Something
that came out of just trying to help solve a problem now has around 500
downloads per episode. I see these weekly podcasts as a platform where my
guest speakers and I can be critical, offer different perspectives and a
space to have open discussions addressing topics that matter to the
industry from all angles. As a fashion educator, I’m constantly speaking to
students who are the zeitgeist of their generation and the demographic
these fashion companies market to. I see the News Bytes podcast series as
an honest platform for open dialogue, to discuss ideas and find
solutions.

Joshua with Dapper
Dan

How did the partnership between Fashion Consort and FashionUnited come
about and what do you envision with this collaboration?

Around September, my weekly podcasts were getting traction online. At
the same time, I was also featured in the case study FashionUnited
contributor, in
a fashion school. I’ve always appreciated FashionUnited’s unique stories,
so I reached out directly to Esmerij, the editor-in-chief. We hit it off
immediately and I see our partnership as a vehicle in exploration and
sharing of knowledge to interact with an even wider audience.

Listen to News Bytes podcast by

Photos: courtesy of Joshua Williams

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