Left to right: Amy Odell, Anne Slowley and Tavi Gevinson.
Recently I have been slaving over iBlogFashion – an introduction to fashion blogging for Australian PRs and Marketers – so the current drama over 13-year-old Tavi of Style Rookie has been fascinating as it seems to have the international fashion world categorised into three parts: the ones who love her, the ones who don’t like her and the ones who don’t care either way.
First we saw the fuss and buzz over this young girl who photographed herself in eclectic outfits with amusing thoughts and comments. Before long the masses found the blog, buzzed about how she was so young and then came the cover for LOVE (pictured above), an invitation to New York Fashion Week this past September, a column for Harper’s Bazaar and an paid trip to Japan for Comme des Garcon. All in 2009!
But like all good things, now comes the backlash.
Amy Odell of New York Magazine’s The Cut blog penned a post quoting Elle’s Anne Slowey as saying that Bazaar’s hiring of Tavi as a columnist “feels a bit gimmicky” with a obviously disconnect between her video and her blog.
“I’m sort of fascinated in the same way the world was with JT Leroy,” Slowey explained. “You look at her video, and the writing doesn’t sync up with the way she talks about fashion. When I watched that video it smacked of this ethereal vagueness – this vacantlike quality where it was like everyone was on Vicodin. Like everyone was uncomfortably dumb except for me.” She added, “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.”
That sparked some very vicious attacked on both Odell and Slowley in the comments with people signing up especially to attack them. High profile blogger who calls himself Fake Karl was not happy that Slowley hinted that there was more than one person working on Style Rookie, and even rued the lack of “real journalism” online, inspired by the post, writing:
“We’ve known for a long time that the New York fashion blog has been the equivalent of a half-finished meal of McDonald’s given to a homeless man who Scott Schuman then photographs. What I mean is, there’s no surprise with Ms. Odell’s latest travesty of an article, with comments from Eccentric and Grumpy Old Woman Ann Slowey, who is convinced that my niece Tavi has a secret team of elves writing her posts.”
Given that the real Karl Lagerfeld is quite an outspoken man, it’s no surprise that Fake Karl has said as much (all while hiding behind an alias). But one should consider how hard writers work to get to where they are (in Odell’s case, New York Magazine’s very popular fashion blog The Cut), that when someone gets a high profile on hype and gimmicky buzz, it can be frustrating and jealously can seep in. Not that I’m saying Odell is jealous, but I’ve had bouts of jealously before but I would never trade places with them with if you asked.
Tavi’s is an interesting case because she has shown that she’s more grown up than her 13-years and has thoughts about fashion that people are interested in, there is no denying that.
“The thing with teenage fashion bloggers, is that they’re little girls trying to be 30 year old fashion editors. You can’t grow a blog without original content or by pulling images. It’s just not enough. It would be more interesting to consider the dynamic of who her friends are. I mean, what do they think of this girl who dresses all crazy?”
“I think that editors are just finding something to write about with an interesting angle. Children blogging!”
But that’s the thing with blogging, it’s such a personal thing that people either love you or hate you. And if you can’t beat em, why not join them? Fashion is an industry where we don’t all air kiss and pretend we love each other, there are fun little quirks and intricacies to everyone’s relationships.
What do you think of the whole Pro-Tavi/Anti-Tavi drama?
Remind me to tell a story about the worst dressed man in Australian fashion and I one day when I’m older and grey.