Little Red Village


Benson Roberts, Fashion Designer

Season 2, Ep. 8

Jonathan Joseph and Rachel Elspeth Gross interview Benson Roberts to discuss fashion academia, learning to sew, and how to communicate with employees and politicians.

Benson Roberts is a fashion designer and entrepreneur who has been working in the apparel industry for almost 40 years. His work is celebrated, awarded, and has been seen on the covers of magazines, on fancy red carpets, and on musicians who are household names. He founded a fabric company, does beautiful custom design work, and teaches apparel design.

Benson also co-hosts the podcast Advanced Fashion Disruption with Megan Summerville, a past guest here, and one of Little Red’s favorite humans. Together, they are working to make fashion better. Benson has a lot of lessons to teach, some truly valuable stories to share that we all can learn from.

More Episodes

  • 3. Sandy Schreier Part 2: Largest Private Haute Couture Collector and Fashion Historian

    On this episode of Little Red Village we wrap up our special 2 part interview with the savior of fashion herself, Sandy Schreier. The couture collector, author, and fashion historian has spent her entire life obsessed with fashion and its preservation. Sandy began collecting haute couture during the heyday of Detroit luxury as The Motor City's ladies who lunch sent trunks of hand me down couture by the limo full. The Ford, Dodge, and Chrysler women were just as enraptured by her passion for fashion as we are.
  • 2. Sandy Schreier Part 1: Largest Private Haute Couture Collector and Fashion Historian

    On our first two part special episode we sit down with a truly life-long collector of haute couture, Sandy Schreier who joins us to talk about her unparalleled collection of haute couture and the journey to her one woman show at the Costume Institute. We discuss being given haute couture by American royalty by way of Detroit's famous automobile manganates whose wives gave a precocious Sandy their old couture thanks to her obsession with the fashion magazines she'd read while at work with her furrier father at Russek's Department Store.
  • 1. Fern Mallis: Creator of New York Fashion Week

    Jonathan and Rachel interview fashion icon and former Executive Director of the CFDA, Fern Mallis.We talk about her serendipitous start in fashion by way of the famous Mademoiselle Guest Editor Program, growing up in the garment district in a family of fashion business-owners, inspiring the next generation and paying it forward, what it was like to create New York Fashion Week (originally 7th on 6th) and the lessons learned through her interview series Fashion Icons at 92Y which is now a two volume set published by Rizzoli and sponsored by Nordstrom.
  • 13. Jenny Leigh Du Puis, Circus and Theatrical Costume Designer

    Jonathan Joseph and Rachel Elspeth Gross interview Jenny Leigh Du Puis a PhD Candidate in Apparel Design at Cornell University, where she is combining her extensive professional career as a circus and theatrical costume designer and technician with her formal training in functional apparel design.Jenny Leigh Du Puis literally ran away to join the circus. She was a theater kid in high school, studied costume design in college, and then followed her heart, and several big names circuses around the country, gathering skills, and building the sort of professional reputation that normally takes a person decades to establish.Jenny convinced Cornell University, one of the most academically rigorous apparel and costume design programs in the United States to let her adjust their curriculum. Jenny is currently working towards earning her doctorate in circus costuming, so she can find ways to ensure that the safety features required by one industry are able to be utilized in ways that make other potentially dangerous careers more safe.
  • 12. Dr. Vanessa Paugh, Software Engineer and Digital Fashion Designer

    Jonathan Joseph and Rachel Elspeth Gross interview Dr. Vanessa Paugh, a brilliant woman who is using simple, easy to follow instructions to teach anyone how easy it can be to design their own digital fashion. That might sound impossible, but it's true. Even the simplest of applications or programs don't show you how the work is done or teach you how to actually make stuff. Dr. Paugh wasn't satisfied with that. She wants kids and people generally to understand how simple it is to learn to make games and in the process of doing so gain valuable skills that allow anyone to be a more active participant in our ever expanding digital world. Because there were no books to buy. There were no accessible materials, Dr. Paugh began to make them and the first one is free, you could be well on your way to creating your own 3d Dress Up game, by the time this interview is over. Dr. Paugh is an engineer who wants you to know how capable you are. She wants you to know that the things you will imagine can be made real. She wants to show you the tools that you need to design your own digital world and she wants you to know that there are excellent free programs that you absolutely can learn to use. The work that Dr. Paugh is doing, what she is offering us is so much more than generous. It's like the keys to a whole kingdom, but a kingdom of your own design and she wants to help you learn to make it to your own exact specifications.
  • 11. Michael Wilson, aka Knightmage Award Winning Cosplayer

    Jonathan Joseph and Rachel Elspeth Gross interview Michael Wilson also known as Knightmage an award winning cosplayer.Knightmage, who is Deputy Sheriff Michael Wilson during the workweek, is an internationally known award winning cosplayer. In addition to having built more than 120 costumes, based off of characters from comic books, video games, TV, movies, he's also been the recipient of the presidential Volunteer Service Award for his philanthropic work.If you're obsessed with a character from a very specific niche universe, it's very likely that Michael as Knightmage has recreated it. Knightmage has got some of his equally talented friends to make their own cosplay costumes. Michael and his friends have worked with special effects experts and photographers to capture the true essence of their costumes.You have to look him up. If you've not seen his work, we really don't know how to describe it. @knighmage100 on instagram.Michael has some really helpful tips and tricks, both for people who want to try cosplay. And for those who are already very experienced. He believes it should be fun, centered on community, and not a hobby that breaks the bank.
  • 10. Ukrainian Fashion Mini Series: Iryna Kokhana founder of Chereshnivska

    Today Jonathan and Rachel interview Iryna Kokhana founder of Chereshnivska.Chereshnivska is a unisex sustainable fashion brand that has committed to making sure that at least 50% of its production uses recycled materials. Chereshnivska features hand drawn prints by the brand's creative director Anastasiya Rozava. Earlier this year Chereshnivska showed in Helsinki and then at Paris Fashion Week for the very first time there spring summer 2023 collection. Art is very important to Chereshnivska as is offering a range of designs with sizing that does not differentiate between men and women. Iryna takes a responsibility as a leader very seriously. Long before her company was operating during war time, her love of fashion and style was nurtured by her parents. After the detestable second Russian invasion began back in February, things felt more bleak to them than they do right now. Today, Iryna tells us they're used to working during war, well, at least as much as people can be. She's looking forward planning for what will come next, hiring new employees, looking for places where good work will make a difference.
  • 9. Ukrainian Fashion Mini Series: Olena Dats

    Today's conversation is between myself and Ukrainian fashion designer Olena Dats. Olena's mother created a collection of traditional Ukrainian clothing, some of it more than 100 years old, as clothing does, especially pieces that were made before synthetic fibers were available. Eventually, some of it began to fall apart. Olena who could not be stopped by any force that I know have told me that when this happened, she did what she always does when facing a potential disaster. She said, first I cry. And then I think, what can I do? This led to some innovative, completely original apparel design in the augmented reality space with face me studio. Now, please know, this was long before anyone else was experimenting with apparel in AR. But I'll let her tell you that story. Dat's has built her world renowned brand, by blending her deep love for Ukrainian tradition with all different kinds of state of the art technology. Through this process, each of her collections becomes a kind of conversation, a reflection on what clothing and beauty mean in modern life. Her work has shown around the world and cities known for the highest of high end fashion, places like Paris, Japan, Dubai and more, so many more.