Translated by Vittoria Bernardini
Vuoi leggerlo in italiano?
The universe of Italian fashion blogs is not among the most stimulating, as we discussed not so long ago. It is mainly characterised by repetition and imitation of mainstream fashion magazines, and people such as myself feel the lack of feminist perspectives on the art of dressing.
For this reason I decided to contact Megan Fredette, my favourite US fashion blogger and author of latter Style. I asked her a few questions about her approach to fashion blogging, in the hope she can be of inspiration to us.
Meagan’s style is very peculiar and sophisticated, as testified by her wide collection of vintage pieces. It is reminiscent of the aesthetics of Game of Thrones as well as the ethereal feeling of certain shoegaze albums. Meagan is made all the more admirable for openly identifying as a feminist and denouncing problematic advertising campaigns.
1) Can you tell us a little bit about latter Style? What pushed you to open a blog that is primarly focused on fashion and your personal style? In the beginning, did you already have a clear vision for the content that you were going to publish?
It’s funny, I don’t think my blog has a clear vision at all. My thoughts tend to be quite scattered, and my style hasn’t remained cohesive over the years. Even my more personal essays are purposefully written in a cryptic manner to keep my personal life at arm’s length. Nevertheless, I started my blog several years ago because I’ve always loved fashion and really liked the community. Back then, there were a lot more weirdos with popular blogs. Each of my favorite bloggers had their own singular style and I connected with that. I wanted to add my voice to the community but also carve out my own space – but I also have always viewed my blog as a creative project, so I thought it would be a good way to improve the work I had already been doing. In addition, I wanted to explore my own personal style in an introspective sense, and felt that documenting my outfits and being forced to think about would naturally help it evolve. It feels really good to say that despite that fact that my blog isn’t successful or widely read, I’m really proud of the work I’ve done with it.
2) I remember quite clearly the first time I read a post on your blog. What captured my attention and made want to come back was the way you are able to put music and fashion into a dialogic relationship, so often in a very abstract but effective way. I was wonderning when and how did you start putting together a wardrobe that’s so inspired by your favorite music. Was it always a conscious effort?
Creatively I’ve always relied on a bit of abstractism. Associations are key in how I view the world and music posses such a strong associative quality that it necessarily becomes the point of inspiration to many things. To me, music is the starting point behind building little world in my brain. I’ve been obsessed with shoegaze since I was about 19 and it’s been a huge influence on me. Lately I’ve also gotten really into neo-folk and doom country. In turn, this has inspired me to delve head first into historical clothing and lots of Gunne Sax and scents that smell like haunted forests. It gives me this insane urge to flee out to the woods and live in a log cabin.
3) For me, when it comes to music and clothing, I have noticed that sometimes I wear my favorite band t-shirts in the hope of starting a conversation with someone who shares my musical taste. But there are times, on the other hand, when I just need some sort of armour, to be wearing something that makes me feel safe, just like when I’m in my room listening to Neutral Milk Hotel, The Microphones and all of my favorite bands. Is it the same for you? What is your relationship with band t-shirts?
Oh man, I’d probably have to take my band t-shirt collection with me to a desert island! I have a lot of band tees. There’s a handful I wear regular basis, some I wear around the house, some I don’t wear because they are too precious. Usually I buy them at shows because that’s how a lot of smaller bands make money. I don’t know if they are armor for me in the same sense…more like an advertisement to potential friends. It’s a way for me to say “hey, I like this band and we should hang out if you do too!”. I met my best friend of over 10 years because she was wearing a Bright Eyes tee, and I went up to talk to her. Music forms the basis of communities, which I love. Also, I recommend getting band tees in a size larger than you normally wear, they just feel so much cooler when they are oversized and slouchy.
4) You describe latter Style as “a feminist blog about fashion, good music, and feels”, as well as “body and sex positive”. What was your first encounter with feminism? How do you feel your personal politics are represented in your blog?
It is somewhat embarrassing to admit that I didn’t fully identify as a feminist until I was 22. I’d just begun dating my fiancé and on one of our very first dates, we talked about blogs we read, and he mentioned that he read feminist blogs like Feministing as a way to gain insight into issues that as a man, he’s essentially immune from. I said “I’m not a feminist” and he looked perplexed and asked “why? But you’re a woman, why wouldn’t you be?”. I didn’t have a good answer. So I spent some time learning about feminism and realized that it’s all things I absolutely believe. Over time I have come to understand intersectionality and it’s relationship to feminism – how it’s part of the bigger fight for equality. There’s a quote – I can’t remember it exactly or who said it – but it’s something like, take your feminism into your life. If you are a scientist, take feminism there. If you’re an athlete, take feminism there. And that’s a a core belief of mine. Feminism won’t do much good if it’s kept in its own bubble, it should permeate all aspects of a person’s life.
5) Last year you wrote a series of posts about work outfits, with valuable insight on how to look office appropriate when your tendency would be to go in the opposite direction. Since I’m quite new to office jobs and still have a lot of trouble compromising my personal style with what’s expected of me in a work environment, I was wondering: does it get easier with time?
Not really, I hate to say. You just learn to accept it. My office is right by an art school, and everyday I see the art students on the train wearing crazy prints or lazy leather jackets or bedazzled shoes and I can’t but feel a twinge of jealously. With every job there are sacrifices to be made, and I’m lucky that at least I have good benefits and coworkers to make up for it. I think of it as a privilege – some people can make a living without having to worry about a dress code, but some us aren’t so lucky.
6) Italy offers a significant number of fashion blogs, but very few of them are openly feminist or feel as personal as yours does. What would you recommend to someone who’s playing with the idea of opening one but is a little bit insecure about it?
It’s silly advice, but just go for it! Like any kind of creative endeavor, you’re going to feel awkward and embarrassed but eventually it goes away and you’ll get better at it. And don’t compare yourself to others. It will just drive your crazy and make your voice less authentic.