Meagan Fredette's blog, Latter Style unites fashion with feminism. She spoke with Our Town about Chicago fashion, House of Leaves, and art that takes itself too seriously.
Our Town Why do you identify as a feminist?
Meagan Fredette There is a lot of value in standing up and being counted. If I didn't identify as a feminist, I'd be doing an enormous disservice to my beliefs.
OT What are your thoughts on peoples’ unwillingness to label themselves feminist?
MF It's irritating. But I understand, because for the longest time I didn't call myself a feminist. Part of it has to do with simple ignorance of intersectionality-- [realizing your own privilege] and trying to remain vigilant about the unseen benefits you’re afforded, benefits that always come at the cost of other people-- it's easy to dismiss feminism when you think it's just about burning bras, and not about fighting the oppression of all women. There's so much misinformation about feminism; it can seem like a radical club that isn't accessible to everyone. Most women still have reserves of internalized misogyny - that is, harboring sexist ideas about women as a result of cultural biases, which causes things like slut shaming and vicious female competition. And I think, on a base level, it's just isn't considered "cool" to care about politics in general, let alone feminism, but I'm hoping people like Tavi Gevinson and Beyonce can help change that.
OT What makes your approach to fashion specifically feminist?
MF To me, it's just the simple notion of wearing what you want. Realizing that fashion "rules" can be oppressive at worst, and at best are by-products of a patriarchal beauty standard. I don't buy this notion that clothes must be flattering in order to be considered acceptable, because "flattering" is just code for "makes you look thinner." Fashion is a wonderful tool of self-expression but I feel like that expression is hampered by misogynistic views about bodies. People should free to wear the thing that make them happy and not worry about how it makes their bodies look. I'm not a contrarian necessarily, but I love wearing things that are not "supposed" to be worn on my body type, things like long empire waist dresses. I wear what I like, period.
OT Style-wise, what’s unique about Chicago?
MF I love the weird characters. There's so many fascinating people here that would sort of go unnoticed in a bigger place like NYC. Like Claire, who works at Lula Cafe and is always wearing the raddest outfits, like mismatched plaids or printed shoes. Or Heather Lynn, a performance artist and gallery owner whose casual costumes blur the lines between fashion and art.