She may be a style icon, but Christene Barberich is, first and foremost, a media mogul. In fact, she asserts that her role transcends much more than just the fashion industry.

Barberich — who cofounded Refinery29 in 2005 with Piera Gelardi, Justin Stefano and Philippe von Borries — has helped the site flourish to the powerhouse is it today. During its more than 10 years of existence, Refinery29 has continued to expand to a broader range of coverage; on top of fashion and style, it has added categories including lifestyle and wellness. Now, Barberich is on a mission to change the common notion that fashion is frivolous.

“I love talking about fashion as it relates to personal style, because I think it’s important to change people’s perception of it being a superficial thing that’s meaningless in people’s lives,” she said. “That’s a really shortsighted way of seeing the influence that cultivating personal style has.”

We caught up with Barberich during SXSW and asked her to pick out five of her favorite recent Instagram posts, weigh in on the pictures and share the inspiration behind them. The following has been lightly edited for clarity.

The Baxter Project
#thebaxterproject is the hashtag my husband and I created when we bought this little apartment in Brooklyn Heights, and it’s really little — under 800 square feet. It was a real dump when we got it, just in a state of disrepair, but it had a lot of potential. My husband and I are both in our forties, and neither of us had owned property before, so it was a really big collaborative milestone for us.

He is an architect, so it was great being able to work with him in that capacity. It’s really expensive to buy an apartment, and we really scraped for years to get the money to do it, and we were really economical and smart about the things we could get on hand. Oh, and #therealpheebs is Phoebe, the three-legged cat we rescued. She’s everything to me, that cat.

Women’s March
I coordinated going to the Women’s March on Washington with my friends Gigi Guerra and Noria Morales, Target’s Director of Curation and Senior Director of Creative Collaborations, respectively. I had committed to going with them and this group of women before we coordinated our own bus for Refinery29. I don’t think any of us anticipated that the march would prove so successful; the turnout was so extraordinary and far surpassed everyone’s expectations.

I thought I would meet up with my Refinery29 family later, but I ended up staying with these women in this house in Maryland and getting to know them. They were really interesting, cool, active and outspoken. I read a Gloria Steinem quote where she said that, in situations like protests and demonstrations, you end up being with the people you need to be with. Experiencing this historic event with people I didn’t know very well, but who I appreciated being there with, made it more meaningful..

Savannah College of Art and Design
Piera Gelardi, one of my co-founders, took this picture — I brought her down to Savannah during one of my visits down there in my mentor-in-residence tenure. The Savannah College of Art and Design has an incredibly diverse student body, and I love spending time with them. I’m a huge believer in the inversion of influence theory — I get so much from just talking with students and young people, and engaging with them. It feeds me in a way that’s very different from the work I do everyday.

Podcasting with Danielle Brooks
The podcast is a real labor of love. I don’t think any of us realized how much work goes into making a really well-produced podcast, so we really have our executive producer to thank for making it happen. It’s a tremendous amount of work, but it’s so worth it. It performed really well in its first season, and I really find the medium to be so gratifying; I love talking to women in a really private and intimate environment, where we can discuss things about various aspects of our lives.

We recorded with actress Danielle Brooks right before she had her big finale of Broadway’s “The Color Purple.” We were lucky we got her, because she was taping “Orange is the New Black” and then going straight to the theater in the evening. She’s a great example of someone who’s really finding her stride. I find her really inspiring and warm, and real. 

The Raf Simons debut
I was counting the days until the show, since they first announced that Raf was joining Calvin Klein a year ago. We were all really hopeful, because the fashion industry in the U.S. has been a little challenging lately. Having somebody move overseas with his pedigree and his perspective, as well as his sense of fearlessness as a creative visionary, at a place like Calvin Klein is important. It was a small show — there wasn’t a lot of pomp and circumstance — which was a nice change from the pageantry of fashion shows. It was the perfect example of a designer capturing the nuance of everything that’s happening in the world.

I know a lot of the people that are kind enough to follow me here on good old @instagram (thank you!) don’t tend to go bananas over runway shots, but this one, in particular, symbolizes so much more than just a fashion show, it’s the debut of Raf Simons for Calvin Klein and it deserves a minute for reflection. This was arguably the most anticipated show of the season…hell, the whole year, and Simons’ takeover of what I believe is the most historic, influential, and transcendent American fashion brand came at a time when America is in turmoil–as is the fashion industry itself. He chose the soundtrack carefully, opening with “This is not America,” David Bowie’s haunting theme to the 80s film, The Falcon and the Snowman, a story about corruption, lies, deception, and, most importantly, espionage. It was an emotional and eery backdrop for the opening looks, which began to tell the unfolding story of Calvin Klein’s latest revival…a study in American craftmaking, workwear denim, 80s primary colors, and most beautifully, the further exploration of gender (imagine a floral chiffon layer fixed upon a sturdy tweed coat). But I chose this shot, especially, because, here in this beautiful coat, Raf and his team have reimagined the American quilt…a tradition that traces back to colonial days, when families came together to sew symbolic imagery of their homes, their families, their heritages…to pass down to future generations of Americans who were proud to call this magnificent country our home…a New World for everyone, not just the privileged. A lot of people say that fashion and politics have no inherent connection, but they do…they must, because we need a show like this to shake us out of our daily Orwellian despair, to see some beauty and art but also to see how precious the time we are living in now really is. Our actions matter, what we cherish matters, and we are not alone in our will to protect what is ours, what is yours, what is the soul of America. Thank you @calvinklein and Raf Simons for the experience…we’re so glad you’re here. @r29fashion #r29fw #unstyled #dressfortherevolution

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