That’s Not My Age Podcast: Fashion Queen and Sewing Bee Judge Esme Young
She’s been top of the That’s Not My Age podcast guest list for ages and so I am absolutely delighted to introduce the multi-talented fashion expert, lecturer and Great British Sewing Bee judge Esme Young. The 72-year-old presenter whose style inspires women of all ages, had been proving fashionably elusive, but then all of a sudden everything fell into place. Hooray. Not elusive at all, just busy sharing her style know-how. This is the first podcast Esme has ever recorded – but one thing emphasised throughout our conversation is that she never shies away from a new challenge.
Aged seven when she made her first garment at school, a hand-sewn red gathered skirt, she’s had an extraordinary career in sewing and fashion design ever since. In this podcast episode, Esme joins me to talk about her career highlights – from launching Swanky Modes with three friends in the early 1980s, a fashion label beloved by celebrities such as Julie Christie, Grace Jones and Viv Albertine; to creating iconic costumes for films including The Beach and Bridget Jones’ Diary. We discuss how she found moving into a television career in her seventies and what it’s like to work alongside the comedian Joe Lycett and TNMA favourite Patrick Grant on The Great British Sewing Bee. We talk about how she’s been spending lockdown, what she likes to do in her free time and I had to ask her about hanging out with David Bowie at Notting Hill Carnival! In her other day job, Esme inspires a new generation of creators as a pattern-cutting tutor at Central Saint Martin’s College.
Plus, of course we touch on Esme’s superb sense of style, penchant for bold necklaces and how she maintains that immaculate haircut.
I really loved recording this episode. Esme is a star. Super-cool, stylish, self-assured and funny, too. She loves a G&T and a proper roast dinner – and is currently researching a book and exhibition called Exploding Fashion (stay tuned for updates). I hope you enjoy the podcast.
Tune into The Great British Sewing Bee every Wednesday at 9pm or BBC1 or catch up on the episodes here.
We’re all inspired by Esme the Fashion Queen:
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Producer and audio engineer: Linda Ara-Tebaldi
Host: Alyson Walsh
Guest: Esme Young
Music: David Schweitzer
Artwork: Ayumi Takahashi
Coordinator: Helen Johnson
*Due to the pandemic the That’s Not My Age podcast is now recorded using a web-based application on my computer. It is odd not being in a room with someone, not seeing a person’s facial expression or knowing if they’re about to continue talking…But it also means we can go global!