Why Wasn’t I This Cool When I Was a Kid?

In I spied... on September 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm

"(Available scanner + boredom)" says Tavi.

Tavi is styling the Alice + Olivia show at NY fashion week,” says feisty fashionista, AlModa. I’m about to make her slap her forehead in shame when I ask, “who the hell is Tavi?” (I secretly enjoy how much it annoys her that I’m such a fashion dummy).

Tavi is fashion’s blogger of the moment. She’s the talk of the town (good and bad), a  certified style guru, seated in front of editors and celebrities at fashion week for three seasons in a row and oh yeah, she’s also just fourteen years old. The girl from the suburbs of Chicago has a writing tone akin to a witty, forty-something fashion journalist. As I read through her ‘Style Rookie’ blog posts, I find myself feeling the same way I did when my friend showed me that YouTube video of a dog, genuinely dancing the merengue. Amazed but highly confused. Where did this girl come from? How did she learn to talk like that?

“I have mad respect for that little alien” says Al Moda of the child blogger, in the nicest possible way, of course, “She’s digging up archives of Yohji Yamamoto from the 90s. She wasn’t even conceived, let alone born yet!” (referring to a recent Style Rookie blog about Pop magazine’s Britney Spears feature, in which Tavi noted how much the starlet resembled Courtney love “who popularized the Kinderwhore style in the early ’90s. . .”).

Britney Spear's Pop Magazine cover

When I was finally done stalking Tavi’s blog (which by the way, she started at the tender age of 11), I turned to Google so see what other people have been saying about this four-foot-ten whizz-kid. I’m not surprised to see some very big names in the bitchiest of industries, picking on the girl a quarter of their age. Elle magazine doesn’t seem to be a fan with fashion news director Ann Slowey sniping, “She’s been 13 for, like, the last four years,” and creative director Joe Zee failing to hide his bitterness when he questioned, “whether she even really writes it herself” and remarked, “I don’t think Tavi knows what happened five years ago.”
Vanity Fair isn’t exactly in her camp either when the style editor-at-large talked about her as “that funny girl who was 13 and looked 97”.

But why should little Tavi Gevinson from Oak Park, Illinois give a damn when none other than Vogue Editor and fashion empress (who rules all) Anna Wintour is giving her a warm, motherly, approving embrace in front of the hoards of paparazzi at last week’s Fashion’s Night Out event in New York?

Vogue Editor, Anna Wintour with Tavi

“Everyone loves a prodigy– until she steals their seat at a fashion show”, The New York Post.

Tavi was asked by the folks at New York’s iconic superstore Barney’s to do  a live-tweeting and blogging appearance for its Fashion’s Night Out event and made celebrities in attendance such as the Olsen twins look like last year’s news. She has also written for, was featured in an article by French Vogue and appeared in her very own cover for Pop magazine, designed by Damien Hurst. Editor of blog says, “I genuinely believe that one day Tavi will be the editor of Vogue.”

Tavi on the cover of Pop

Also appearing on the Condé Nast cover of LOVE

Now I realise that by hyping up this young blogger, I could be contributing to what is now a very typical “build them up to tear them down” media scenario, however, little Tavi is no wimp and has already taken to her blog to respond to the playground bullies of the fashion world. In a satirical post directed at the suggestions that Tavi doesn’t actually write her own blog, she wrote:

Tragic but true, the REAL one behind this blog, and many others, is I…Tomas Louffer…”Tavi” is just a name I came up with when I was smashing one of my worker’s heads to my keyboard when he fixed my iced tea incorrectly.)
Let me tell you a little about myself. I was born 1964 in some forgotten place I do not want to speak of and grew up in a very enclosed world.

Tomas Louffer (a.k.a Tavi)

In another post called “bloggers vs. editors” she responded to the minor scandal she caused when a magazine editor sitting behind her at Paris fashion week tweeted, “not happy to be watching couture through Tavi’s hat.”

Let’s be realistic here — I don’t look at rail-thin women sucking on cigarettes outside shows with admiration. It seems that with all this “Backlash!” many people have lost sight of what MY blog is actually about: fun, dammit! I thought my let’s-go-all-out-and-enjoy-ourselves outfits were of any indication here, but apparently a giant pink hairbow just means I don’t want editors behind me to see because bloggers hate editors and vice versa, apparently, apparently, apparently. I’m going to New York on Saturday. I will be wearing some more hats. If you happen to be sitting behind me and you’d like to be able to see, just ask.

Tavi, who started high school this September, has also just hired a publicist, Dana Meyerson whose roster of clients includes mostly rappers. Tavi already sells adorable t-shirts from her blog, decorated with her self-portrait for $40 each, but Meyerson sees much more earning potential for Style Rookie and wants to help make the blog itself monetary, telling the New Yorker, “it seemed like the next step”. Meanwhile, her father, a retired English teacher (which might explain Tavi’s own writing talent), gives the tiny blogger just $10 a week in pocket-money. He also chaperones her to all the fashion shows that she attends around the world (and according to  Fashion Week Daily, Tavi gets more invites than Kanye West).

Tavi's t shirts for sale on Style Rookie

As for her long-term career, who knows? “I guess that’s sort of a worry of mine,” she confessed to The New Yorker, “that I won’t be relevant anymore, and then I just won’t be able to do things like go to Fashion Week . . . In which case, I’ll just watch the livestreams.” I feel a pang of sympathy for the little blogger but then remember the size of her brain and feel confident that although the fashion world might be fickle, the rest of the world still loves a good writer.

A scan of Tavi's school biology folder

Cultural Studies Class?

Messy Nessy, although perhaps a little slow on the mark, thinks this is a pretty cool kid!

Click here to have a gander at Tavi’s blog Style Rookie

I’m also contractually oblidged to provide a link to Al Moda‘s blog everytime I mention her… totally joking, but here it is anyway!

(click me)

  1. […] Why Wasn’t I This Cool When I Was A Kid? […]

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