7 Feminist Fashion Icons

We heart fashion and feminism (obviously), and unsurprisingly have a soft spot total crush on celebs who are as feminist as they are well dressed. Here are 7 of our favourite feminist fashion icons.

JANELLE MONÁE

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How do we love thee, Janelle Monáe, let us count the ways…

First of all, her style is amazing–she is one of the few celebrities to consistently wear more butch looks, and she does so for a reason. In her amazing Elle Canada February 2013 interview, she explained the specificity of her sartorial choices very carefully to reporter Kathryn Hudson, just read the excerpt below:

“I started wearing this uniform, to be perfectly honest, because I have an amazing body.” I feel my expression shift into the facial equivalent of “WTF.” Over the years, she has given many reasons for her sartorial choices–most often, she says the look is to pay homage to her parents, who wore uniforms while working as a janitor and a garbage truck driver, respectively. “I’m serious–I’m not playing,” she maintains. “When I look at myself in the mirror, I’m attractive. I really have a nice body. And I had to pick: DO I want them to focus on my body? Do I want them to focus on how curvy and really, really gorgeous my figure is? Or do I want them to look at my music? What has more value? And I made that decision. I want them to focus on the message, and the music because I feel like I have a higher calling.”

Amazing, right? Beyond the intricate, political message of her wardrobe, her music has very feminist themes (just watch the video for Q.U.E.E.N.), she does a lot of grassroots activism, and is obviously super intelligent and well-spoken. Her message on self-esteem for women is clear as she says in the same interview,

I want to present a different perspective of what it means to be a strong woman, and I just hope to be an inspiration to the next generation of girls, to help them define what makes them unique and what makes them special.

Janelle Monáe forever.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY

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We love that Keira Knightley consistently chooses roles as badass women (Elizabeth Swann, Cecelia in Atonement, Domino of the eponymous movie, Anna Karenina) even roles that are arguably more distinctly feminist than your usual run-of-the-mill Hollywood stuff (Georgiana in The Duchess, Elizabeth Bennet, Vera in the Edge of Love, and Sabina in A Dangerous Method).

When she’s not giving yet another amazing performance on screen, she’s doing PSAs about domestic violence (trigger warning), and talking about the ongoing issue of women, work, and motherhood, like she did in her October 2012 interview with Vogue saying,

I’m glad the subject [of motherhood and work] has come up again,” she says. “I remember doing interviews, and people would ask, as if it were a joke, ‘So you mean you’re a feminist?’ As though feminism couldn’t be discussed unless we were making fun of it. I don’t want to deny my femininity, ” she continues. “But would I want to be a stay-at-home mother? No. On the other hand, you should be allowed to do that, as should men, without being sneered at.

EMMA WATSON

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It’s really not a surprise that Watson was in this summer’s blockbuster The Bling Ring, which passed the Bechdel Test and focused on young women, or took the role of the ever-compelling Sam of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And, plus, you know, she was Hermione Granger, brainy lady icon of our generation. She loooves fashion, her championing of lesser-known young, British designers is well-documented in the November 2011 interview of Vogue, and she worked her buns off on collaborations with People Tree and Alberta Ferretti, too. As for feminism? She mentions she’s a feminist in the Vogue interview, and when asked about being an “incurable romantic” states,

“I’m a feminist, but I think that romance has been taken away a bit for my generation. I think what people connect with in novels is this idea of an overpowering, encompassing love—and it being more important and special than anything and everything else.”

Even way back in 2007 she was proudly identifying with this philosophy and movement–awesome.

RASHIDA JONES

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Rashida Jones is certainly known for her style–she was one of the few women chosen to represent and define the style for “California Casual” in the indispensable Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style, and starred in a Lucky editorial just a couple years ago. We also live that she’s mixed-race, and always seems to be playing roles in movies starring dynamic and multifaceted female characters like Celeste in Celeste and Jesse Forever (which she wrote, by the way), and Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation. She’s continuing to blaze the trail for women in Hollywood, being busy currently developing a show with her sister, Kidada titled Ladyballs. Yea, you know it’s going to be awesome. If ya need further proof, just read her interview on The Conversation where she says when asked if she would call herself a feminist,

I would, yes. I believe in the unadulterated advancement of women. And we have so far to go still. I do think because women are so clever and flexible and such good communicators, it been hard for men to evolve and keep up. I think we could do a little better to help them out.

 

We’re totally in love.

ZOOEY DESCHANEL

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C’mon, you knew Deschanel would be on this list, didn’t you? Her coming out as a feminist in Glamour earlier this year caught fire in the media. She explicitly ties her clothing to her feminism infamously stating in her interview,

“I’m just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f–king feminist and wear a f–king Peter Pan collar. So f–king what?”

Her style-and-feminism comments are as timely as they are accurate–let’s face it, Deschanel is pretty much the reason that a market for Modcloth exists. We love and respect her so much that we even wrote a three-part series more or less dedicated to her  this past winter.

VICTORIA BECKHAM

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Victoria Beckham is so stylish she literally has a fashion-related disease in her name. In all seriousness though, whether you love her designs (she is hailed as a leader in “the new minimalism” in her design work alongside Phoebe Philo and Nicolas Ghesquière), or the fact that she attributed her win as Glamour UK Woman of the Year to girl power, Beckham is totally badass. She echoed Madeline Albright’s famous statement (“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”) in her April interview with Elle Canada where reporter Annabel Brog noted,

Her pet hates are laziness […] and women who hate other women. “I have no time for it at all, when women just don’t like women. I don’t get it. I think that women need to support women […] When they say they don’t, that probably pisses me off more than people being lazy”.

 

Pretty dead on, no? Plus, we love the fact that like Kristen Stewart, she refuses to play nice and smile for the media all the time. Like we said, total badass.

KRYSTEN RITTER

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It is our never-humble opinion that Ritter doesn’t get nearly the fame and attention she rightly deserves. She wrote, produced, and starred in feminist female buddy dramedy L!fe Happens co-starring Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson, was remarkable in Breaking Bad, and totally hilarious in the tragically short-lived Don’t Trust the B— in Apt. 23. Her iconic paleness and signature raven ‘do are super-eye catching, not to mention her killer style (see above). And, she’s totally feminist–she was on the cover of BUST in April 2012 which is pretty much a dead giveaway that a celeb is hard core feminist. Like Beckham, she has little tolerance for girl hate stating in her BUST cover story,

I hate the cattiness and jealousy; it drives me crazy. There is room for everybody, and that’s just how I approach everything. I’ve been on jobs where maybe a girl isn’t as confident as I am or hasn’t been around as long and lets people treat her badly. I’ll be the first one to bring light to it or help. If we don’t support each other, who will?

 

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