Tavi Gevinson, Rookie of the Year
Published March 12, 2009
When we first caught wind of Tavi Gevinson’s blog, Style Rookie, we couldn’t believe it. A twelve year old girl with a signature haircut (not quite a Wintour bob, yet), a Comme des Garcons for H&M rap, a precocious attitude and an interest in mythology, and unreleased Rodarte leggings—it sounded like the work of stage parents. We got Tavi on the phone to test our theories, and we put her to the test of the one vintage shopper who could match her, Fabiola Beracasa. What she found was a remarkably poised young girl—one who’s ready to grow up, who isn’t stuck on fashion, and who has fostered an international network of style rookies.
FABIOLA BERACASA: Hi, Tavi How are you? It’s Fabiola.
TAVI GEVINSON: I’m good. How are you?
BERACASA: I’m good, thank you. What time did you get home from school today?
GEVINSON: Like 4:45, but then, I had to wait for my mom to get home because I was locked out.
BERACASA: Oh, oh that’s never good. So, first of all, I just wanna um, how old are you again?
BERACASA: When will you be thirteen?
GEVINSON: Uh, late April. I’m ready to outgrow it.
BERACASA: Outgrow twelve?
GEVINSON: Yeah just ‘cause I’ve been kind of like, a twelve year old blogger for a long time. Once I’m thirteen I’ll just be an annoying teenager and not like a cute little girl.
BERACASA: Do you have an outfit picked for your thirteenth birthday?
GEVINSON: That’s a little too far ahead. I think I’ll just wear whatever fits my mood, which will hopefully be happy.
BERACASA: So what do you want to be when you grow up?
GEVINSON: I’m not really sure. I always joke that I’d like to be a cat ‘cause then I’ll have nine lives, and then I can do like everything. But that’s really hard… [LAUGHS]
BERACASA: That makes sense. You are twelve. [LAUGHS] Basically would you want be involved in fashion or art or something creative I’m guessing.
GEVINSON: I love art, but I don’t think I’m especially good at it. Fashion I think I could imagine, but I’m not really sure. I think it’s easiest for me to picture myself in music.
BERACASA: I heard that you did a rap.
GEVINSON: Um, well yeah, I had gone to the Comme Des Garcons for H&M opening. And when I was little I would write all these like dorky raps, potty mouth raps-just because I was a dork. The rap was satire really, more than music. It circulated the Internet a lot more than I thought it would.
BERACASA: So what your friends think of your blog?
GEVINSON: Not that many know about it. My closest ones do, but it’s embarrassing to talk about and be like, “Oh by the way, I have this blog and it’s kind of nerdy. But I mean, they’re supportive. They think it’s cool, in their own words. And I have a couple where I can actually talk about…
BERACASA: Who understand you.
GEVINSON: They’ll read some of the blogs that I read and they’ll understand what I’m talking about when I babble on about like blogging or fashion. But it’s not like, “I’m gonna go hang out with the Style Rookie now…”
BERACASA: So if you’re like surrounded by all these people who aren’t really into fashion where does this all come from?
GEVINSON: The Internet, really. It’s amazing what you can find. There are so many different resources on the Internet and I got into blogging because of my friend’s sister who had a blog, Fashion Robot, which she stopped a few months ago just because it was too much time … I started taking more of an interest in fashion, and going to more websites like Style.com or whatever. Eventually I made a hasty decision and made my own.
BERACASA: What do your parents think of your blog?
GEVINSON: They’re very supportive, but they don’t like read it a lot. Sometimes I’ll show them a post or two especially if I’m proud of it or something. They think it’s crazy, some of the things that have come out of it, but they’re happy that I have fun with it.
BERACASA: Well that’s pretty cool. So let me ask you this, have you ever gotten in trouble for a style choice?
GEVINSON: If I’m wearing a hat or something, I’ll have to take it off—which is lame, but whatever. At school, skirts and shorts have to be below the knee which I break but no one seems to stop me and there’s some rule about like sleeves but, I never wear short sleeves anyway.
BERACASA: Why don’t you wear short sleeves?
GEVINSON: I just don’t own that many shirts that are tank tops or anything like that. But it’s also been really cold lately.
BERACASA: So who takes the pictures of you on your site?
GEVINSON: I do. I have a tripod and the camera I use has a self-timer. My mom is an artist and my dad used to take the pictures for like her fairs or exhibitions or whatever and so we have like three tripods.
BERACASA: What’s your favorite subject at school?
GEVINSON: Probably creative writing, which I don’t have for the rest of the year because it was only two trimesters, which is a shame. But I think I like it the best because it’s all around a fun class. The people in it are fun and the teacher’s really great; and I think that with the blog, I’m kind of glad that we write so much in school because if not I think anytime I would write I would sort of automatically start writing like I would on the blog and that’s not very good.
BERACASA: What’s the last story you wrote?
GEVINSON: It’s kind of weird. This one teacher and a student that is in the hospital. It’s long, and confusing.
BERACASA: I’ll let you tell it when you’re more comfortable. So if you could buy one thing, only one thing for the rest of the year, without worrying about the cost, what would it be?
GEVINSON: That’s very, very difficult… I want say like a Comme Des Garcons piece or something but I wouldn’t be able to wear that a lot…
BERACASA: It’s tricky. The pants that are all loopy and crooked and one arm is here and the other arm is there it’s, you’re right it’s a little bit…
GEVINSON: A blog friend sent me a Comme Des Garcons shirt that she got at a warehouse sale and on the tag it says like, “don’t wear too much” ‘cause it’ll like be damaged [Laughs]. So, it’s kind of hard. I have a pair of Rodarte leggings. They’re crazy but I wore them for one day and then by the end of the day they weren’t tearing, but they were getting a little loose.
BERACASA: Save them. They would look cool in a frame. What’s the best compliment you ever got? Either on your blog or outside your blog.
GEVINSON: There are a few things that I get a lot, just like, “Nice outfit” and stuff. But I can’t remember a specific one. One that stuck out in my mind is this kid at school said, “I watch your outfits every day; it’s like something new and I’m excited to see it.” He doesn’t know about my blog. Some people at my school who know about my blog and then compliment my outfits a lot but it’s like, before they knew about my blog, they sort of like snorted at them. So I know it’s more sincere, coming from him, because he doesn’t know about it.
BERACASA: So, you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to, but do you have a crush on anybody at school?
BERACASA: You don’t have to name names. You could say “yes” or “no.”
BERACASA: All right, that’s good enough. So how often do you go thrifting and what are your favorite shops? Do you buy stuff online?
GEVINSON: Not really. EBay scares me–too many bidding pirates. I live walking distance from a salvation army so I try to go there often but I only go once or twice a month. I haven’t gone that much lately.
BERACASA: Well, you have a lot of really cool stuff, from what I’ve seen.
GEVINSON: Some of my clothes are things that we’d play dress up with when we were little, and it’s funny that now I’m wearing it like as an everyday thing. But if I say ‘vintage’ or ‘thrifted’ on the blog, there’s this community of fashion bloggers and I’ve become sort of tight with some of them, and we like just send each other packages. If I’m thrifting and I find this great dress but it won’t fit me and I won’t grow into it because I’m impossibly tiny, I don’t want to let it sit there. I’ll buy it and send it to a friend.
BERACASA: That’s really great. I was looking at one of your pictures and you were wearing like a tie-dye pair of jeans, and there was a link to who sent them to whom. I thought that was really, really cute. Is Chicago a fashionable place for you?
GEVINSON: No. People are practical. I love Chicago but I don’t like shopping in malls that much or anything but um…
BERACASA: I relate to that. I didn’t get that at your age but I get it now.
GEVINSON: It’s a pain because it’s like, everyone’s kind of hectic and aggressive and trying to get the same thing.
BERACASA: Have you been to New York before?
GEVINSON: A couple times. We didn’t stay there. We were staying in Jersey, visiting friends, and went in for a day; and we did this twice. I loved it. I really, really want to go back and I’m talking to my parents about letting me go for Fashion Week in September. It’s only like the second week of school when all we do is like sharpen pencils and talk about not bullying.
BERACASA: Where do you and your friends hang out like on the weekend?
GEVINSON: Sometimes we’ll go like, downtown in our area. Calling it “Downtown,” that’s a bit of an overstatement. We’ll see a movie or go to the park.
BERACASA: Are you guys mixed–boys and girls or is it just girls?
GEVINSON: Just girls.
BERACASA: Oh, no wonder. No crush there.
GEVINSON: I’m in a play right now and my friends from there, a lot of them are guys. During rehearsal, we’ll all get something to eat or something, but they’re all older and stuff. When being in theatre when you’re younger, age doesn’t matter as much as it does in school.
BERACASA: Do you have a dream part?
GEVINSON: I could name a few but I think that, like the number one is um, the witch from “Into the Woods.”
BERACASA: Who’s your favorite celebrity, if you have one?
GEVINSON: I have my favorite designers and my favorite actors and stuff but like, a celebrity in general… Well, hmm, one of my favorite actresses and she’s like a singer is Zooey Deschanel.
BERACASA: How about your favorite designers?
GEVINSON: Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto…
BERACASA: You like some drapery.
GEVINSON: Um…Oh! Designers. Uh and Vivienne Westwood… Laura and Kate Mulleavy for Rodarte
BERACASA: So maybe you would do well if you could take a trip to Japan. I was in Tokyo this summer, actually, and I shopped my head off it was so good.
GEVINSON: That’s amazing. I have a book that a fellow blogger recommended to me, actually. It’s called Style Deficit Disorder and it’s all about the style in Tokyo and labels like Comme Des Garcons. It’s really interesting and it got me through a really long car trip to D.C.
BERACASA: I’m gonna get that book. Thank you. Do you know what you’re gonna do for the rest of the day? Do you have homework?
GEVINSON: No homework, or none due Monday, but I should be getting a head start on some other things. After this I might invite my friend over ‘cause I ordered a turntable and it came yesterday and she wants to hear it
BERACASA: Have you been watching Paris shows?
GEVINSON: Some of it. Nothing especially, I mean, I think that of all Fashion Week Rodarte still remains my favorite. But there quite a few disappointments.
BERACASA: [LAUGHS] What were the disappointments?
GEVINSON: Balmain. I feel like Christophe Decarnin kind of just does the same thing, every season. Other collections have only gotten better and better and then this was just like, “No.” There were individual pieces I really liked but, like the collection as a whole just, wasn’t very cohesive and I didn’t really understand how a lot of it was supposed to sort of fit together.
BERACASA: How long do you spend blogging on your blog? How long each week?
GEVINSON: I spend a lot of time like, reading other blogs but just writing an outfit post I will take like maybe an hour just to like take the pictures and upload them and like…
BERACASA: Put the outfit together and all that stuff.
GEVINSON: I did a New York Fashion Week review and there were a lot of collages. That obviously took a longer time but ten hours blogging sounds like it…