I met Luke Meagher, also known as @hautelemode on Instagram, at an event a few weeks ago at The Break, a vintage store in Brooklyn. Immediately captured by his humor and, inevitably, his impeccable style, I got to talking with him, and I recently had the opportunity to catch up with him for a few minutes between work, school, and everything else that this kid has going on.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: My name is Luke Meagher. I just turned 20. I don’t want to say I’m a social media influencer because that’s a lie. I’m lowkey a social media influencer. I’m trying to do a million things, currently, [and] I’m dying a little bit on the inside, but I think it might be working.
Q: When you say a million things, what do you mean by that?
A: I started doing these Instagram videos where I dance. I’ve been doing social media stuff for a really long time, like since I was 16, when I literally had a street style blog. I have these Instagram videos that I do. I really like to dance, so I just started doing them, and then people said, “Oh I really like that!” so I said, “Okay, well I’ll do that.” I just started—well, I want it to be a company, but it’s called Hautelemess. It’s like a branch off of Hautelemode, [my Instagram handle,] and it’s a media company that is documenting different people in different industries, but using it solely as video, moving from magazines to something that’s much more reusable and recyclable and sustainable.
I go to school—not that I want to. I fucking hate school. I go to FIT. I’m a sophomore there. It’s trash. I hate it so much. I’m in advertising and marketing. I hope I die. They treat it like it’s real advertising. We’re all there for fashion, pretty much, so you gotta give us a little bit of leeway. I feel like social media’s the nouveau way of doing advertising, and I literally have yet to learn about social media at all. It’s weird; it’s whatever.
I work for a stylist; I started interning for her a little while ago. She’s amazing. She does stuff for i-d and Dazed and Purple. It’s really great. I love working for her. Her name’s Delphine Danhier. She’s fucking amazing, and I love her so much. She’s super great and awesome.
Q: What do you do for the internship?
A: I, for the most part, just do pickups. I’ll go to all the different brands and pick everything up—like, trekking through New York City with garment bags, but I love it. I like going everywhere. If we’re doing a shoot and I’m free, then she invites me to the shoot. I normally just man the clothing rack, but it’s an amazing way to man the clothing rack. She gives me credit—like, I just got in the latest issue of Purple and i-d. I sobbed for, like, a week about it. It was really great.
Q: How does social media fit into your life?
It’s kind of my everything. It’s very weird because I think I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love it, and I want it to be my life. I think it’s kind of what I’m good at, but it’s a slow climb, and I think there’s a lot of privilege [in social media popularity], like with celebrity kids. It’s weird because even though I’m white, I’m genderfluid. If you’re not a really masculine boy or a very pretty girl, you’re, like, fucked.
Q: Describe your style.
A: I don’t know. I hate being like Leandra Medine from Man Repeller, but I don’t really think I have a style. I do so many things. I think I’m a person [who] is not good at sticking to one thing. I don’t have one set friend group; I don’t have one set style of music. I pull inspiration from everywhere. This [points to outfit] is not what I was wearing before. I was serving Gosha realness when I was coming, and now I’m serving Gucci, Richardson-ness. It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. It’s a day-to-day thing, and I constantly push myself to not wear the same thing; that’s my mission in my mind: Don’t wear the same thing.
Q: The same thing as in, the same thing that you wore last week, or the same thing as other people?
A: Not in [relation] to other people. I pull inspiration from other people, and [even more so from] brands. I’m very attracted to Balenciaga and Vetements and Gosha currently, and that’s where I pull my inspiration from, but I definitely try not to do the same thing that I’ve [previously] done. I [want to] constantly be reinventing my style and all of that kind of stuff.
Q: What do you want your style to say about you?
A: Just that I’m fun, I guess, or that I like to have a good time. [My style] is very personal to me. A lot of people tell me, “You wore that; you want people to see you.” It’s like, no, it’s really not for anyone except me. It’s for me to see [myself] and be like, wow. The thing is, I get dirty looks 700 times a day; it’s, like, my life. The only time I actually care about what I’m wearing is when I’m walking in the street and I can see my reflection in the [store windows]. That’s what I care about. I care about what I think of [myself].
Q: How, if at all, do you incorporate androgyny into your wardrobe?
A: I don’t think I’m androgynous—I mean, I am, I guess, because I get called “ma’am” at Chipotle all the time. I don’t know. I more so just dress very feminine, and because I’m biologically a boy, I think it makes me androgynous. I would just say I dress more feminine.
Q: What are you interested in, outside of fashion?
A: I love Youtube. There’s this boy, and he’s like 16. His name is Tanner Braungardt, and he does trampoline tricks. He has 2 million fucking subscribers, and I am obsessed. I don’t even know what it is. I don’t find him attractive… I’m [just] obsessed. I just love watching him do trampoline tricks and hang with his family [laughs].