{iStyle: Team Tavi}

By: Jenn Ortiz

Here we go again…

The hot topic in the fashion world this week, as it has been several times in the past, is the validity of teen fashion bloggers. Many members, and spectators, of the fashion industry have been quite vocal about bloggers like Tavi, Jane, and BryanBoy. It all began with a video of Tavi Gevinson reporting on Rodarte for Target along with the announcement that she would write a column in the January issue of Harpers Bazaar. Elle editor Anne Slowey and fashion writer Lesley Blume had a thing or two to say about the situation. Blume repeatedly called Gevinson a novelty, and Slowey implied that the young fashionista couldn’t be capable of writing her own material, that she must have a “Team Tavi” of support, since Gevinson didn’t maintain the same voice in her Rodarte video hosting as in her writing.

Excuse me, Ms. Slowey, do you sound the same on camera or in person as you do in your writing? Oh wait, that’s right. All writers are supposed to maintain a consistent voice at all times. Yes, it’s in the AP stylebook. You have to sound the same, even during sex. I mean, I run around calling everyone by their last name. Like a high-school gym teacher. Yup. Ask anyone.

All I have to say is: get real. There are and have been plenty of very young models and designers in the industry. Esteban Cortázar showed his sketches to Todd Oldham at age 13 and sent a line down the runway a few years later. Countless models began their careers at age 13. Young celebrities are invited to shows, photographed, interviewed, and generally fawned over by the industry. If a fashion reporter were to ask any one of these kids their opinion on a show, no one would bat an eye. So why is it so hard for some to accept Tavi Gevinson (sometimes named Tavi Williams) as a valid voice in the industry?

As Jezebel points out, much of the suspicion and backlash of the little fashionista has stemmed from her consistent voice. In my opinion, her voice is consistent because she isn’t trying to be something she’s not in her writing. Besides, her dad is an English teacher; Undoubtedly, she’s picked up some good grammar over the years.

Don’t be mistaken, Blume and Slowey say that they think she is darling and that they are concerned about the industry using her. We’re happy they are concerned. However, I’m sure Tavi isn’t doing this for free and is aware that the opportunity to be published in a major magazine at a young age will greatly improve her chances for admission into college. The other foolish thought the two seem to share is that they think she has great style, just not enough for anyone to care about her opinion.

Slowey asks, “What am I getting out of a 13-year-old’s opinion about fashion? How does that help me distill the collections? What am I supposed to be buying?” She says, “That’s what an editor’s job at a magazine is.” I say, “You’re wrong.” Most people out there don’t pay that much attention to fashion, nor do they really take magazines that seriously. It’s a form of recreation for most readers. A magazine is a guide with pretty pictures of outrageous outfits that may or may not be wearable, possibly some beauty tips, love advice, and cultural articles. Yes, there are some who obsess over what they see in magazines and make their purchases based on what they see on the glossy pages, either because they don’t have much of their own style or because they are very into fashion. When I say very, I mean that these readers are probably part of the industry or would like to be. That isn’t the majority of the readers of mainstream fashion titles like Harpers, Elle, and Allure.

Blume mentions here that she doesn’t think the creative directors and top buyers will take her fashion advice seriously. Funny, they took Cortázar seriously at a very young age. See, the job of a buyer is to buy things that will sell. Big-gun buyers and creative directors attend shows. They have their own opinions and data about their customers and what is coming down the runway. Sure, they pay attention to what goes into a magazine or a TV show, because the readers might call for an item they see. I find it hard to believe that they make their buying decision on what a columnist in Harpers has to say, no matter what age.

So what will that reader get out of a 13 year old’s opinion? Probably, enough to figure out what is in style. Afterall, this 13 year old knows her fashion history. She knows her collections, past and present. She knows how to style things. She’s also aware of how others dress, and that her own style isn’t for everyone. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that is more than many of the interns and new hires at these magazines. Probably more than most of the writers, too.

We’ve heard stories in the past of bloggers young and old being snubbed by their “old media” peers. (I recall a tweet of a fashion old schooler refusing to sit next to a fashion blogger at a show. Meanwhile, said blogger was a tad heartbroken, because he so admired the old schooler who’d just snubbed him.) That sort of thing won’t go away soon, however we’ve seen an increase in acceptance from the industry recently. Unfortunately, some people just need to feel superior, so they try to find a way to put their competition beneath them. Fair enough, except when you are using age as a reason. If the work is good, you shouldn’t dismiss it based on age and the assumption that age automatically invalidates the work. The only thing that sort of action proves is that you are immature. We’re on Team Tavi.

What team are you on?

Note: We here at iStyle don’t like taking fashion too seriously. We believe that fashion is for everyone, and anyone can have an opinion on it! We had some fun and we made Team Tavi shirts. Team Slowey & Blume, soon to come! We’ll donate $2 for every shirt bought to Tavi’s favorite charity.

Jenn Ortiz is an freelance author and a graduate of the University of Florida with degrees in History and Latin American Studies with hopes to pursue a PhD in Child Development. She believes there is beauty in everything around us; from the inside out, outside in. She currently runs {Bits of Beauty} a place you just feel good about and guest blogs for Design Tavern and Wishpot.


  1. thebeautyfile says

    team tavi team tavi team tavi…the girl's got spunk and a whole lotta sass!

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