Cover image of Dress Code Cracker: the podcast -- style and communication

Dress Code Cracker: the podcast -- style and communication

Dress Code Cracker discusses personal expression through style. Far outside the confines of mainstream consumer fashion culture, we consider pop culture, politics, modern art and feminism in discussing style as a means of personal expression. We talk to one guest bi-weekly about what they express when they get dressed and what informs their style. Using an audio format forces a visual medium to be translated verbally. We look at dress as a daily exercise in creative self-expression, including as an expression of political beliefs. Dress can be a way to consider issues of oppression: via globalization/fast fashion, gender politics, race, feminisms, ableism and various types of 'body fascism'. Not to forget also how dress references culture and subculture. Dress code cracker is body and sex positive. Feedback welcome at sarah (at) dresscodecracker.com and please visit at www.dresscodecracker.com

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DCC 38 Chrysanthemum White Alder: Chaos Magnet/15th Century Pagan Nun

Hello! For episode 38 I spoke to Chrysanthemum White-Alder about her Medieval Pagan Nun style. She's ​an interdisciplinary artist, witch, and academic currently working on a Masters of Education at Lakehead University. She's also studied intermedia and cyberarts at Concordia U; and is an amazing visual artist.  One of her passions is Reclaiming Witchcraft (think Starhawk....we talk about it in the episode but it's a tradition of witchcraft that's environmentally focussed). She's been a community organizer for over a decade and is deeply committed to environmental activism.  Please click over to dresscodecracker.com for photos and show notes! 

1hr 12mins

12 Feb 2020

Rank #1

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I'm back for the first new episode of 2020 with an amazing interview! Sarah Potter is a lecturer, curator, practitioner of colour magick, and a tarot card reader. She's been all over the witch-ternet (sorry) lately, featured in Architectural Digest, Dazed magazine, In Style magazine and Teen Vogue. Colour magick is an occult modality of using the energy and associations of specific colours to boost your intention and manifest desired outcomes.  When we started discussing her personal style, the descriptor of mob boss combined with mob wife came up; and it's pretty much perfect to describe Sarah's style which is a wonderful, colourful blend of grooming and swagger.  Please stop by www.dresscodecracker.com to see more show notes and photos of Sarah!  Thank you Sarah for all your work making the world more magickal! <3

1hr 9mins

22 Jan 2020

Rank #2

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"It's the biggest reason why I do what I do: as a model, as a performer and why i;m so mouthy about the whole thing. I belong to all these intersectional communities that are constantly told to be smaller, that are already fringe and already left out. and so as someone who takes up a lot of space, personality wise, looks wise, energy wise, I constantly speak out about these things because it's so easy to tell us to shut up and be forgotten about...." --Ivory Conover  Ivory is a multi disciplinary performer by trade...and by personality! She's a graduate of Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, and a former Miss Canada Plus. She's a singer, actor, dancer and model, not to mention a burlesque dancer who infuses her performances with intersectional feminist politics.  She's also a co-founder of the Succulent Six--a team of curvy 'superSHEroes' who are working to promote body positivity and dismantle toxic ideas about female beauty. She's also a member of Les Femmes Fatales: Women of Colour Burlesque Troupe.  She's wonderfully outspoken about her politics and activism, which she attributes to her position on multiple intersections within feminist politics: she talked to me about being a biracial woman who 'passes' as white, a queer woman who 'passes' as straight despite her bisexuality, and her commitment to dismantling toxic cultural messages about women's bodies.   "Thank the gods, I'm an Aries, you know heady, and a fighter....I'm also a fire breather, ax thrower, an archer, knife thrower and horse back rider!"  She talked about her relationship with makeup, and starting a new process of learning to love her natural face--- "I think makeup is an incredible tool, I think it saved my self esteem. But part of my process to continually challenge my self love and my self worth, is pushing myself past comfort zones."  Please follow her adventures (and antics) on IG and twitter--and facebook. She's @pureivorydotca pretty much everywhere!  Thank you Ivory for a fun photo shoot! You are a delight and an inspiration :) 


7 Nov 2017

Rank #3

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DCC 35: Gigi Castorina "Everyday Vintage at Gigi's House of Frills!"

Gigi is a long time vintage collector, appreciator and wearer. And an even longer time lingerie enthusiast! She is the owner/operator of Toronto's only Vintage Style Lingerie Boutique : Gigi's House of Frills. We talked about 'everyday vintage', and her dedication to fashion and details from the 1930s to '50s. I love how her store makes you aspire to a more glamourous lifestyle, where you might entertain in loungewear or do your pincurls in a nightgown from the 1930s. You can follow Gigi on her twitter: @gigisfrills Instagram: gigisfrills or gigi’s house of frills, and of course her website which features information about the store and lookbooks.... More at www.dresscodecracker.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/dresscodecrackr Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dresscodecracker/


29 Jun 2016

Rank #4

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DCC 34: Amazon Syren "Little House on the Orchestral Pagan Folk Metal Prairie"

Amazon Syren is a queer, poly leather femme, a sex-workers' rights activist, and a Professional Naked Girl.  She's also a witchy glamazon who sings opera, writes poetry, reads tarot, grows veggies, works magic, spins her own yarn, cooks, preserves, and darns a lot of socks.  The secret ingredient is always love.  She lives with her wife and an assortment of metamours in 1821. DIY is very close to her heart. She has opinions! Which is what I love! We discussed the business of being tall women (she's 6'4" and I'm just under 6'2"), from slouching to people's surreptitious checks to see if we are wearing heels. We also covered her 'femme muse' Musetta from La Bohème,  queer hanky codes, what a newly minted dyke wears to pride in 2008, DIY is a big deal with her, from knitting and handspinning yarn to gardening, preserving and cooking. She also weaves and sews. As an urban homesteader, the 'little house in the big woods' thing is no joke. We discussed the terminology around ethical non-monogamy, and the idea of being "solo” poly, which she points out has no meaning unless you're working from a coupled default position. She also clarified the differences between pansexual and queer poly (spoiler alert it's hetero-normativity). She recommended: Music: @solstafir And please find Amazon online via her twitter, @amazon_syren, and also her two blogs: Urban Meliad and Syrens.  Thank you so much Amazon! It was a pleasure. ♥ www.dresscodecracker.com for more info and images! Thanks for listening. 

1hr 9mins

31 May 2016

Rank #5

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DCC 33: Femme Space Amanda Arkansassy Harris

I encountered Amanda Harris’ work via a Gender and Media class.I love her Femme Spaceproject and was so excited to talk to herfor this episode!  Amanda  is a queer high femme charmerfrom the South. She was the co-curator of Y’all Come Back:Stories of Queer Southern Migration in the 2015 National QueerArts Festival, where she exhibited portraits in her EXODUSseries. Her photographs have been published in Glitter & Grit: Queer Performance from theHeels on Wheels Galaxy, G.R.I.T.S.: An Anthology of Southern Queer Womyn’sVoices, Towards the “Other” America: Anti-Racist Resourcesfor White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter, aswell as various online sources including Al JazeeraAmerica. She believes in the future of the femme oligarchy andthe power of portraits to tell stories. Please see images at www.dresscodecracker.com also!  Amanda’s art and activism has been informed and nurtured byonline femme community. We talked about femme visibility andmarginazation in queer and other spaces. She also talked abouttaking the conversation beyond queerness to include race, class,ability, emotional labour, privilege of butch and masculine ofcentre people –and letting femme stand alone—femme sex, and femmeon femme relationships I liked hearing her perspectives on collaborating with vsexploiting femmes from marginalized groups. On the topic ofprivilege, she referred me to an article online by CyreeJarelle Johnson,here.  ….also to a wonderful resource for femme articles andresources—intiated and collated by Blyth Barnow, reflecting thewisdom of  large community of facebook femmes! Of course in the bonus round I asked Amanda for her bookand music recommendations.  She mentioned Amber Hollibaugh, whose book My Dangerous Desires is a favourite of minetoo. The Persistent Desire: A Femme-ButchReader  She recommended work by  Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha whose most recent bookisDirty River I totally recommend too! And…Amanda contributed to a recent book, Glitter & Grit: Queer Performance from the Heels onWheels Femme Galaxy.  which I’m gonna try to getmy hands on soon! Her music recommendation is GAYmous which you can find on FB Amanda’s latest project Y’all Come BackNow, is here, and looks amazing. Thank you so much Amanda!You’re a charmer for sure. ♥


4 May 2016

Rank #6

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DCC 32: Crystal Kotow

Crystal is a fat activist who moved from fashion blogging to tackling more contested spaces in fat feminist thought: cultural hatred of fat bodies; and how fatphobia can manifest as violence in intimate partner relationships. She's in her second year of a PhD gender, feminist and women's studies.One of many nice things about Crystal is she seems to look pulled together effortlessly....which belies her thoughtful and reflexive approach to fashion, fatshion, getting dressed and fat activism, and how all these things intersect. She questions and challenges not just the status quo, but also her own belief systems.Crystal was excited about Charlotte Cooper's Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement  --which is out now! Please go to www.dresscodecracker.com for more information and photos of Crystal.  I can be reached at sarah [at] dresscodecracker.com --feedback, comments, and recommendations for future episodes all very welcome!  Thanks for listening. 


8 Mar 2016

Rank #7

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DCC 31: Jenna Danchuk "New Age Vamp"

Jenna Danchuk is a writer, researcher, and occasional maker of things. Jenna Danchuk is an Assistant Editor for Spiral Nature, a magazine style website dedicated to alternative spiritualities, practical magick, and exploring occulture. She is also a PhD student in the Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies program at York University where she studies the role of cultural production in feminist witchcraft and magical communities. Jenna is a former Associate Editor of WORN Fashion Journal and her writing has also appeared in Shameless Magazine, FUSE, and on Bitch Media’s blog. A training ceremonial magician, but a feminist witch at heart, she has an interest in reconciling the two. We talked about fashion and chaos magick, shopping guilt (this comes in so many varieties!), imagining an aesthetic bridging goth and new age, kung fu, academia, spirituality, astrology, and women of the esoteric western spiritual traditions. Thanks for listening!  Images and info at:  www.dresscodecracker.com

1hr 4mins

12 Jan 2016

Rank #8

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DCC 30: Vivek Shraya "What I'm doing is not about a performance"

Vivek Shraya is a multimedia artist living in Toronto with strong ties to prairie malls. She's produced 10 albums, written 3 books (with 2 more set for release next year) and created 4 short films, all to great acclaim. She talked to me about the production of art, how performance grounds her, Her debut novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books of 2014. A three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek has read and performed at shows, festivals and post-secondary institutions internationally, sharing the stage with Tegan & Sara and Dragonette, and has appeared at NXNE, Word on the Street, and Yale University. Vivek is a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, the 2014 recipient of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award for leadership in Toronto’s LGBTQ community, recipient of Anokhi Media’s inaugural Most Promising LGBTQ Community Crusader Award in 2015, a 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award finalist, and a 2015 recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Prize Honour of Distinction. Both Vivek’s debut collection of poetry, even this page is white, and first children’s picture book, The Boy & the Bindi, will be published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2016. Her POC fashion project (co-edited with Karen Campos Castillo) is at  http://heart-beats.ca/HDB/ We talked about Rihanna, Beyonce (duh), gender expression, performance vs 'real life', and style as class privilege. She also educated me in the nicest way possible about being so judgemental about other people's style.  Thanks Vivek! You're amazing! 


22 Oct 2015

Rank #9

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DCC 29: Andrea Zanin "More butch...and more femme"

I'm baaaaack this week with Andrea Zanin, a butch/femme academic and leatherwoman who writes prolifically and teaches about BDSM/Leather/kink, power dynamics, non-monogamy and queer sexuality. She's also pursuing a PhD in Gender Feminist and Women's studies (I didn't realize when I booked her that we're in the same program!) --and her thesis is about Canadian leatherdyke history. Andrea's erotic short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. Her online home is here. Andrea co-organizes the annual Canadian leatherdyke weekend An Unholy Harvest and runs a pervy book club called The Leather Bindings Society. FInd Andrea on twitter too: @sexgeekAZ Thanks for listening! 

1hr 4mins

27 Sep 2015

Rank #10