Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Young fashion blogger incites curiousity, envy

My envious tendencies have reached an all-time low. I’m jealous of a 13-year-old.

There’s a tween lurking somewhere around the Chicago suburbs who is being invited to fashion shows left and right. What gives, people? Where are all my Fashion Week invites?

Tavi Gevinson started her fashion blog Style Rookie at the age of 11. She posts pictures of her quirky outfits and sounds off on the season’s trends and pop culture. Since then, she’s managed to pick up all sorts of fame. Fashion editors and designers are digging her enough to give her a column in this month’s issue of Bazaar.

Do you realize the kind of rampant insecurity a 13-year-old fashion columnist triggers in a 22-year-old fashion columnist? Let me tell you, it’s not pretty. The girl is cute and all, but quite frankly she drives me crazy — mostly because when I was that age the closest I was getting to the fashion industry was shopping for Abercrombie jeans at the King of Prussia Mall and feeling really cool about it.

Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind Rodarte, had Tavi create a video of their recent collaboration line for Target. I barely even know how to turn a video camera on.

Reactions to Tavi’s exponentially rising recognition are mixed. On the one hand, we have all these designers and magazines who are scrambling to get a piece of her. On the other hand, there’s a whole lot of scandal about whether she is actually writing all these blog entries herself. Elle fashion director Anne Slowey told New York Magazine that she was a little skeptical.

“You look at her [Rodarte] video, and the writing doesn’t sync up with the way she talks about fashion,” Slowey said. “When I watched that video it smacked of this ethereal vagueness ... I’m not trying to take anything away from her — her love of fashion, her love of style. She’s either a tween savant or she’s got a Tavi team.”

Thanks for that, Slowey. It’s a relief to know that not everyone is so enthralled with this little girl that I would have to give up my dreams of working in fashion just because I’m already in my 20s.

Honestly, I don’t think the question, “Is this all really being done by a 13-year-old?” is even the point. It doesn’t make that much of a difference to me whether this is her writing or her great-grandmother’s or her neighbor’s. Though for the record, I actually do think she’s the author. Who the hell would give up the opportunity for that level of popularity for a tween? I’m not convinced it would be her mother, either, because I don’t think she would really be that into talking about dying her daughter’s hair blue.

Don’t you remember being 13? We all had a near-obsessive wish for everyone to realize that 13-year-olds knew a lot more about life than everybody thought. Why is it that the second we get older, we automatically assume that anyone younger is some kind of naïve being, completely incapable of understanding anything about the world?

At the end of the day, Tavi does still sound like she’s 13. I don’t think the skill level is really what’s admirable here — it’s the confidence that she’s actually willing to broadcast all this. I don’t know about you, but anything I wrote when I was in middle school is still locked away in a trunk somewhere. Not to mention that I was terrified to wear anything nearly as daring as a leather trench coat like Tavi does.

A lot of folks are worried about this chick being exposed to the horrors of the fashion industry at such an early age, but let’s face it people, there’s nothing more horrific than the halls of middle school. Sitting in the front row at Paris Couture Fashion Week sounds like a walk in the park compared to surviving teendom in the suburbs. In actuality, I think the fashion industry is the safest place for her. They are far more likely to be accepting of her creativity than cut-throat middle schoolers looking for attention.

In the past few years, the fashion blog world has become a roaring presence. Bloggers have become credible news outlets and sources of inspiration. American Apparel regularly hires personal style bloggers as models. Lucky Magazine invites bloggers to be guest writers on their website. It makes sense, really, that blogs have become so reliable. The industry is based on two things: creative personal preferences and fast-paced revolutions. There is no better way to keep up with the speed and quirks of fashion than with blogs.

I can’t decide whether Tavi is a trend — independent fashion blogs tend to have a pretty short shelf life — or if this tween is actually the next Anna Wintour. Surely this must be what editors-in-chief were like at that age, no? If Tavi isn’t capable of taking the Vogue throne, who is?

Now I know I’m not as endearing as a teenager, but Marc Jacobs, if you ever decide to make a line for Target (really, please do) and you need someone to make a video for you, I’d be happy to put aside my homework and help you out. Call me!


ANNA SMALL said...

Tavi. Not many people in the world make me so green.

jenn. said...

seconded. I feel like, with her style, it wouldn't be anything if she wasn't so young. - i mean, a grown woman wearing some of the outfits Tavi does would probably be dismissed as some sort of bag lady, non?

Loving the blog, reading a few back posts now!

Anonymous said...

She incites such mixed feelings in me! I'm not ashamed to say that I didn't even know who she was until a few days ago... a year or so back I caught a bit of Style Rookie but didn't get enough from it to hang around, and next thing her name is everywhere. the style blogging world is temperamental, I hope she stays in the spotlight long enough to see how growing a little older (hell, perhaps even to observe a SIXTEEN year old) and developing a style. other than that, it remains to be seen, really.

Unknown said...

I loved your post! And I had the very same idea about Tavis blue hair and her mum. I also wondered how she copes with her must be tough for her, concerning that.
For sure, she will turn into a style icon over the years and keeping to upwhirl the fashion world!

V said...

Very well written, and you're right: fashion is a hell of a lot safer than school for girls like Tavi.

Rachel said...

I'm curious about that idea of Tavi being the next Anna Wintor, or just a passing trend.

I'm both really, really jealous of her and take my hat off to her at the same time. I was running an online fashion magazine at 14 and the amount of backlash at my age almost killed me inside. I know Tavi's had her self esteem rough patches but she'd still standing and now she's been shoved into the spotlight and she's still on her own two feet we need to admire her for that.

Erina said...

I love Tavi! When I first heard about her blog a little over a year ago I was skeptical about a 13 year old writing and wearing all that she does, but the fact is she has such clear personality in her writing and she doesn't pretend anything. And I think that an adult blogger with her creativity would garner the same respect and attention. People may make a bigger deal of it because she's so young, but no matter her age, she has amazing taste and style (in my opinion). I think part of why people are upset and jealous is because we forget or hardly count and give credit to middle-school aged kids for anything. She has incredible passion for style and fashion and can articulate it well.

Ms. B @ Millie Deel said...

Sigh, I'm right there with you in the jealousy department although I do have a lot of admiration for her as well. I'm a somewhat recent fashion grad and because of my husband's job, I'm located in a not so fashionable area of the country, i.e. no avenue for the degree I put out blood sweat and tears in order to receive. While that's neither here nor there, the fact that she is still in middle school and hasn't worked at proving herself like so many of us have and has still obtained the recognition that she has is somewhat disheartening. Then again, it makes you wonder, is this how the fashion industry is really evolving? That it can be captivated by a 13 year old who slaps mismatched pieces of clothing together to only appear as a bag lady IMHO and call it fashionable? So many things to be considered.

M said...

this post is hilarious, a long while ago before all the Tavi madness began I stumbled upon her blog and my first impression was that maybe it was her mother writing for some reason and not because of her age it was just an afterthought, if you don’t remember how you were at 13 try hanging out with one- they try hard to be sophisticated and worldly- but the main reason she has the invites is precisely because of her age, the industry views her as unique but reality is there are a gazillion tweens out there doing the same thing, she just got there first and good for her even if the green eyes prevent us from focusing reality is she is opening doors for bloggers 13 or otherwise

Amanda said...

Thanks for this. I hadn't heard of her until a couple of days ago and now she is EVERYWHERE!

I am California girl in my late 20s currently living in the countryside of eastern Switzerland (read boondocks) and am a bit out of the loop on everything. Imagine my surprise when a local magazine wrote a blurb about her, "Guess how old this girl is? 13!" Now, my German is poor so I wasn't sure that I had understood that correctly. Immediately I googled her and immediately I grew insanely jealous. Jealous that she gets to sit front row at fashion shows in Paris and NY? YES. Jealous that at 13 she has guts and a personal sense of style that I only wish I had? YES. Makes me wonder what the heck I was doing when I was 13. And what the heck am I doing now? She is insightful and inspirational. I kind of adore and hate her at the same time... how is that possible???

Red Lipstick said...

this is the cutest post ever! I've been following Tavi for a while and was amazed at her successes. She is so young that she makes her own rules, and is not afraid to try anything. I think that's what the designers like, right? I do think she has opened alot of doors for herself and will likely go far if her interest continues, and I can't imagine why it wouldn't!

Princejot said...

I am very much impressed to read Tavi's story.It is really nice post.

I appreciate his thinking.

teen fashion

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the link, but unfortunately it seems to be offline... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please reply to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at could post it.


I'm Sam. said...

Which link are you looking for?
Tavi's blog is:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the link, but unfortunately it seems to be down... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please reply to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at could post it.


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