Introducing Women Who Inspire Us
by Chris Wu
In this series, we highlight amazing women in the SRG community. Meet Meghan, an Oregonian native with a taste for quirky films, indie music festivals, and really great textiles. In between her hectic schedule as a merchandising manager in NYC, we snagged a chat to get her point-of-view on quality, fashion hacks, and how to live better in the Big Apple.
Tell us about yourself!
I’ve been living in NYC for about four years now, working as a merchandising manager for an outerwear company. Originally, I’m from a small town in Oregon with a population of less than 2000 people, so it’s a pretty big change!
In your spare time…
I love the outdoors, traveling, cooking, painting, going to farmers markets… I’m also really into sports, like hockey and baseball — I’m a total Mets fan (I have a tendency to root for the underdog, haha.) I love that professional sports events are so accessible in NYC.
I don’t have much time for books, so I typically read articles on Refinery29 — they cover everything and the length is just right for a quick read.
An interesting thing that you did recently:
I went home to Oregon. All I really wanted to do was go to the beach, go to the river, to not wear shoes, never have to do my hair and makeup, and that’s what I did. And I left feeling so much better. I don’t know if it’s interesting but is was definitely memorable!
Go-to style hack?
Layering is key; pile it on and take it off as needed. Also, dirty hair makes the best hair. Honestly, I think day 2-3 are they best days you can have for hair.
What does quality mean to you?
Working for a brand that thrives on the quality of their apparel, my initial jerk reaction to the word immediately heads towards the thought of wanting to do something with an extended effort for excellence, attention to detail, with the idea of making something that lasts and that is thought through with a lot of love — whether that be a garment, a book that you write or a drawing you make. At the end of the day, there are all kinds of levels of quality (low, high, and everywhere in between) but for me, made well, built well, made with thought, purpose and function are all words that pop into my head when thinking about quality.
How do you gauge when you are experiencing good quality?
You can't assess quality without comparison. If I own several shirts from a lower end brand and find that with almost all of them the seams rip, the stitching is sloppy, and I probably have to throw the majority of them away in six months because they are overall looking bad, that's not good, right? But then go buy shirts from a brand that focuses on all of the details that were lacking in those low end shirts, and then they last. Or they have small details like interesting buttons, taping on the interior neck, higher fabric quality. All things that would make a higher quality product compared to what I was buying before.
What helped to shape that perspective for you?
Hands down my education and what I do for a living. One of the teams that I work with internally everyday tests and monitors quality assurance for every fabric and garment that we create. Because the company I work for has high quality standards, there are times where there are fabrics I want to use that could be these beautiful open weave cotton crepes, but I will get denied because the tear strength fails. That same fabric at a company that just wants to push product through could easily pass it through if they don’t have the same standards. So those instances that happen to me almost daily have definitely given me a certain perspective on my personal definition of quality.
How has your view changed since high school?
Ha, well in high school the only quality I was concerned about was quality of boys butts in baseball pants! In college, I felt like I started to understand it and be more cognizant of clothing quality because of the direction I was taking from an educational standpoint... learning how to construct garments, testing them, being educated on factory production, etc. I have always been an advocate of thinking that college absolutely teaches you the basics, but it's when you set foot in a professional setting where you really learn so much more and that's what happened to me. With all of the hands-on experience, learning from people who have been in the industry for years, and just generally being a part of the process, it was easy to form a view on quality getting into my field.
On the subject of quality, tell us about something that you do to bring quality into your life:
For me, what's most important is that as I get older, I’ve become more selective about the people I bring into my life. I’ve stopped making time for people who don’t contribute anything healthy or positive to my life. Instead, I want to make the most of my time and focus on quality relationships.
Author Chris Wu is a social anthropologist living in NYC. She is a senior trend analyst at The Doneger Group and teaches a course on contemporary fashion culture at Parsons. When she’s not pondering the fate of humanity, she likes to unwind with single-malt whisky and heavy metal. Say “hello” on IG @chris_herself