CONTACT is launching its first podcast ‘Creative Paths’. The booking platform for the next generation of fashion talent was established in 2018 by Reuben Selby. It’s a community-led platform which puts its talented individuals first. Since its launch, CONTACT has welcomed over 400 diverse models to their platform and have been hired by the likes of Nike, Burberry and Saint Laurent, as well as Depop and Vogue.
The podcast, which is set to launch this week, will feature guests from across the creative industries, spotlighting their unique journeys and the ups and downs of being a creative. ‘Creative Paths’ is set to act as a natural extension of CONTACT’s blog ‘Backstage’ which focuses on the wide-ranging creative community. The podcast will be hosted by the platform’s marketing and communications manager Laura Chova, and brand partnerships & editorial manager Sam Cole.
The first guest featured on the ‘Creative Paths’ podcast will be photographer Calvin Pausania. They’ll be getting a behind the scenes perspective on how Calvin has connected with some of the biggest fashion names. They’ll be going through his portfolio and taking a closer look at how those projects come together to form the final product. Other guests that have been announced for the podcast include PACIFISM designer Talal Hazami, actress Masie Williams and CULTED’s own, founder and CEO Pavel Dler.
We called up Laura and Sam, as well as Imi Read (Community & Brand Strategy Manager at Contact) to chat about the podcast, their inspirations behind ‘Creative Paths’ and what they hope to achieve with it.
Tell us what Contact is?
Sam: Contact is a creative community, most people know us as a model booking platform but we’re trying to build something bigger than that. It sort of began with our blog ‘Backstage’, where we featured models, doing editorials with brands and, doing so in a way that there is always a story to be told. That’s been key to building this community and this year we are looking towards bringing photographers onto Contact. So the forward vision of it all is to expand on this offering of opportunities to creatives of all backgrounds.
How did the podcast first come about?
Laura: It was kind of a natural extension of our blog ‘Backstage’. We had a series called ‘Navigating the industry’ and we’d have guests on and ask them about what they are up to at the minute, what projects they had on etc. We thought it would be nice to bring these stories into a podcast and have people tell us about their journey. These stories translate so nicely when you have 20 minutes to chill and listen to it. We thought it would bring everything from the blog into the podcast.
Are you looking to expand into more visual-led content?
Laura: Definitely. We are trying to get into every avenue. We started TikTok (many of our models are big on it) and we want to collaborate with them because they really know what they are doing. I think there’s definitely more we can do with the podcast, seeing as we are moving away from just models, we want every kind of creative there: photographers, models and creative directors.
Sam- It makes sense to look towards video and other options because with everything we do, we try to do it collaboratively and this is a natural extension of all that. Translating the message in as many ways as possible. Everyone digests content in their own way.
Regarding Creative Paths, how do you feature people and what kind of people will you feature moving forward?
Sam: We are trying to keep it well-rounded and sort of a reflection of everything we built on the booking platform itself. We look at people all around the world, with a lot of character and stories to tell. We are trying to reflect that by the people we bring on. Our first guest is Calvin Pausania; a photographer. We’re looking at photographers because that is the next vertical we’re focusing on so it makes sense for us to start bringing that in early. We have a huge target audience and we’re looking at the areas around the world that engage with us the most. It’s not just gonna be London-based which is something we really wanted to stray away from. A lot of people think the creative industry only exists in London and that you can’t get on if you’re not in London. We want to dispel that myth.
How has the pandemic influenced the podcast?
Laura: It has forced us into having guests from around the world as it is all remote. It really encourages us to not be based just in London. It has worked in our favour.
Moving forward, what are you hoping to achieve with Creative Paths?
Laura: A number of things. It’s about inspiring the next generation of creatives. In our first episode we kind of cover our own journeys. I think for me, it would have been nice to have a bunch of creatives to look up to, especially since not all their stories are traditional.
Sam: When you see a lot of people on social media, you may have this idea of how easy it is to get a position in the industry and you see the glamorous side of it all, you don’t see the ups and downs. For me, it really emphasises there is no right way to do things. It’s all about where your journey leads you and making the decisions that are right for you. Especially for a younger audience, like Gen Z, it’s about really nailing that home for them, that you can just take control of that yourself. It may be a lot harder but it is still possible.
What are your plans for publishing and scheduling the podcast?
Sam: One podcast every two weeks. For now, quality is the most important thing. There are obviously a lot of people we want to talk to and we have to see how it goes for the first few months and how receptive people are to it.
Do you think you’d like to start other podcasts focusing on other aspects of the industry?
Sam: I definitely would.
Laura: I think it would definitely be cool to. The good thing about this podcast is that we are covering everyone in the industry so there’s no limit to who we can talk to.
Sam: I think because we have photographers coming onto the platform and beyond that when we start looking at other creatives to bring onboard, we are giving them a more rounded view of the industry as a whole. Naturally, there will be other conversations to be had that we can look at doing through spoken format.
The ‘Creative Paths’ podcast will release its first episode this Friday, February 12. Listen to Laura and Sam chat to Calvin Pausania about his work with Filling Pieces, Adidas and how he stays inspired and creative during lockdown, on all major streaming platforms.
Swipe through to see the first three official guests for ‘Creative Paths’.