Join 3,375 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


What time did you get home from school today?
December 8, 2009 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Tavi Williams, Style Rookie. Tavi is a (self-described) "Tiny 13 year old dork that sits inside all day wearing awkward jackets and pretty hats. Scatters black petals on Rei Kawakubo's doorsteps and serenades her in rap. I have no where near 4 million readers. Rather cynical and cute as a drained rat. In a sewer. Farting. And spitting out guts."

She's been blogging about fashion while living with her parents in a Chicago suburb since she was 11.

A lot of the blog is photos of herself, taken by herself.

In March, talking about New York with Interview Magazine, she said: "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." According to the Daily Mail, she got her wish: "For one week I was in Utopia full of people who can recognise that my jacket is Luella. A lot of my classmates don't get it. But some do." Her posts about it: stylish people from nyfw being stylish and stylish and cool and stylish part 1, part 2.

She is now (or was just) in Tokyo and has been getting some pretty amazing opportunities.

She also loves Freaks and Geeks and has various other online presences.
posted by skwt (81 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes, conditioning our young to be conspicuous consumers is certainly a big part of being American.
posted by luriete at 4:38 PM on December 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


This girl is phenomenal. So much so, I've actually been waiting for the day someone makes a FPP about how this is all a huge scam -- that some aspiring designer or stylist is using their little sister as a decoy or something ridiculous like that. She is a huge inspiration to those multiples her age. She single-handedly made me feel stupid for ever re-thinking my personal wardrobe preferences (especially in school), something that I think we can all relate to somehow.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:38 PM on December 8, 2009


.. also luriete, I think you missed the point.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:41 PM on December 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


Cue the "MeFites just don't get fashion" blather.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:42 PM on December 8, 2009


She's adorable. Thanks for posting.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:42 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Huh. Neat. Good for her!
posted by brundlefly at 4:45 PM on December 8, 2009


Conditioning? Conspicuous consumption? Fashion is a weird beast, an artform that feeds high end design companies, which in turn feed mainstream design. To follow fashion is not to consume, but to be interested in a very temperamental and fleeting artform. Some people simply lust for the items of clothing, while others are there to appreciate the art of the design. (This is what I get from watching fashion reality shows with my wife - I can see it for more than an artform of greed and distorted body images, which is what I previously thought fashion was about.)

I don't think you could train someone so young to admire and follow fashion like this. And reading through her tumblr postings is really odd. Much of her posting is political/feminist (in my brief glance of the lot). This is a very engaged kid, not some passive consumer.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:45 PM on December 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


Are her parents big shot celebrities or something? Or is she getting into stuff like MOCA on the strength of her blog alone?
posted by empath at 4:49 PM on December 8, 2009


Yes, conditioning our young to be conspicuous consumers is certainly a big part of being American.

oh man, you could say this about anybody sufficiently interested in this or that thing that, yes, is purchased with actual money. whether it's video games, films, food, clothes or model trains. I mean, I know that fashion is one of those industries that has twin heads, one of them being horrifically consumerist and centered on making people feel unwhole if they don't own x pretty thing. I know. but there IS another head on there, and this metaphor is going on too long. point is this: there is a creative and fulfilling side to fashion as creative enterprise, and early exposure to it is through consuming it, much like film makers, back before they got started, went to more movies in a year than most people go to in 10.

and I say this as someone who honestly doesn't give a fuck about fashion. this girl clearly cares about it as more than something to spend dolla bills on.
posted by shmegegge at 4:49 PM on December 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


This thread is a litmus test.
posted by fixedgear at 4:53 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is a very engaged kid, not some passive consumer.

yeah, that's a lot of pull-quotes on abortion for a 13 year old kid. I mean, wow, my kids only get that excited about Charizard vs Bulbasaur.
posted by GuyZero at 4:54 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought her last name was Gevinson, not Williams?
Are her parents big shot celebrities or something?
Her father is apparently a high school English teacher.
posted by craichead at 4:56 PM on December 8, 2009


There are plenty of 12 year old kids that are this articulate about stuff like Star Wars or Baseball. Geeky kids can be incredibly knowledgeable and articulate about any subject that absorbs their interest.
posted by empath at 4:58 PM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


If I were forced to spend the rest of my life focused on the crap I cared about when I was 13, I'd be a pretty unbearable adult. The kid has talent, that'll stick around.
posted by gurple at 5:00 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


oh, weird. her blog comes up in google searches for both Tavi Williams and Tavi Gevinson, but it looks like Gevinson is probably the answer.

Also, reading through it a bit, it seems like when she started out the clothes she wore in her own pictures were mostly from her mom (who's an artist)'s closet and the thrift store down the street, and the couture you see in the more recent posts is mostly gifts from her blog friends and from the designers themselves. It's still possible her parents are rich but she seems to have come by her success honestly. It seems she was flown out to NYFW by someone outside her family, a designer or something.
posted by skwt at 5:05 PM on December 8, 2009


I am FOR litmus.
posted by everichon at 5:07 PM on December 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes, conditioning our young to be conspicuous consumers is certainly a big part of being American.

In a word, no.

There are plenty of 12 year old kids that are this articulate about stuff like Star Wars or Baseball. Geeky kids can be incredibly knowledgeable and articulate about any subject that absorbs their interest.

Seconded, and let me add: I'll lay money that this kid manages to make a paying career out of either writing about or designing clothes by the time she's 19.

I see this kinda stuff and I'm a little envious that there was no internet when I was a teen.

Good on her! :)
posted by tantrumthecat at 5:18 PM on December 8, 2009


This girl is awesome. Good for her for getting amazing opportunities, she deserves them.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:24 PM on December 8, 2009


(... because she has unapologetically followed her passion, not because there are people who don't deserve success or something. :| )
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:27 PM on December 8, 2009


She is a combination of incredibly awesome and incredibly creepy. I'm basically blown away by how deft a writer she is; I was no where near as skilled a writer at her age, and I honestly find it kind of disconcerting, which is compounded by many of her self-photos. She's also an adorable little child, which makes me nervous for her sake. I feel like something like this could attract some pretty serious wackos. I hope nothing like that happens.

The fact that everything is center justified is kind of driving the typographer corner of my brain nuts.
posted by Caduceus at 5:29 PM on December 8, 2009


I can barely believe this is a real person. SO utterly cool. She's got quite a life ahead of her.

RSS Feeded.
posted by sayitwithpie at 5:31 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good on her. At that age I was obsessing over model aeroplanes, the Napoleonic wars, dinosaurs, and (bizarrely) grass (yes, I was a strange one). Perhaps if blogging existed then I'd have blogged too, although I was never nearly so cute. Sadly, since then I have lost most of my geek-lore.
posted by jonesor at 5:32 PM on December 8, 2009


I'm sorry, this is awful. It's a real shame to see someone that young get pulled into that ridiculous, self-centered world. Yeah, good on her, I'm sure, to drown herself in bad body image, shallowness and vanity at that age. I'm sorry, just don't see the preciousness of it.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 5:32 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sort of in the same vein, previously on Metafilter: Meet Arlo Weiner, America's Most Stylish 8-Year-Old.
posted by mhum at 5:36 PM on December 8, 2009


Grass like pot or grass like the green green grass of home?
posted by kenko at 5:38 PM on December 8, 2009


I'm sorry, this is awful. It's a real shame to see someone that young get pulled into that ridiculous, self-centered world. Yeah, good on her, I'm sure, to drown herself in bad body image, shallowness and vanity at that age. I'm sorry, just don't see the preciousness of it.

I think you're making the mistake of looking at this through adult eyes.

Think back to what excited you as a kid, and think of having been able to pursue that - HARD - at a young age. THAT is what people are responding to.
posted by tantrumthecat at 5:39 PM on December 8, 2009


Plus fashion isn't synonymous with "omg all that's wrong with human society!!"

It's not inherently more self-absorbed to design clothing than it is to write a novel or follow any other artistic pursuit.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:43 PM on December 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


To follow fashion is not to consume, but to be interested in a very temperamental and fleeting artform.

It can be. But it's not just about the ingenuity of design. Following fashion also entails interacting with the fashion world, the culture of which skeeves me out. It's not just the atmosphere of excess that bothers me, but that of exclusivity and snobbery: all of the noblesse, with none of the oblige.

That said, Tavi's blog is pretty awesome, and it's cool that she's getting an opportunity to see fashion from the inside. I'm kind of awed by how well she writes.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:43 PM on December 8, 2009


If my daughter grows up to be this girl, I will be:

A) freaked the hell out.
B) pleased completely beyond the realm of sanity.
C) both and proud as hell about it.
posted by oddman at 5:57 PM on December 8, 2009


If I were forced to spend the rest of my life focused on the crap I cared about when I was 13, I'd be a pretty unbearable adult.

The period the world should be glad I'm not stuck in was roundabout age 18-19. All humans are works in progress, kids in particular. Keep on growing.

I'm sorry, this is awful. It's a real shame to see someone that young get pulled into that ridiculous, self-centered world.

There's never been anything wrong with people looking good and feeling good about it. It's one of the things that makes me damned pleased to be human. Yes, the Fashion Industry is an evil beast on some level but so is pretty much every human endeavor. Maybe young Tavi is on her way to becoming one of its greatest critics. If so, she'll be coming at it from a most powerful angle (ie: that of a broken heart).
posted by philip-random at 5:58 PM on December 8, 2009


If I were 13 years old, I would be so in love right now.

That's not creepy, is it?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:59 PM on December 8, 2009


Rock and roll is an exclusive world, but that doesn't stop kids from picking up guitars and trying to make it big. Architectural offices can be teeming with snobby attitude, but we like our kids to draw.
I've never met more intellectual assholes than while doing debate class, yet most of our parents would be proud if we became lawyers. Kids playing sports?

I see no reason why a deep interest in fashion shouldn't be fostered like any other activity.
posted by l2p at 6:02 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


She obviously has a passion for something and I think it's important that she get back to school so it can be figuratively beaten out of her.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:12 PM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's not inherently more self-absorbed to design clothing than it is to write a novel or follow any other artistic pursuit.

Perhaps not, but I don't think what's being criticized is just people who design clothing, but people who are part of The Fashion World. I think there is a good argument to be made that designing clothing in that context does tend to make people self absorbed, as it is all about appearance and reputation. Trendiness and elitism are the real bugaboos here. That criticism can extend to all art forms, but it seems endemic in fashion, most likely because of the conspicuousness of consumption (despite the efforts of some to wear their album/book collections on their sleeves).
posted by phrontist at 6:18 PM on December 8, 2009


The Littlest Tenenbaum.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:20 PM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think I have the energy to get Nesquik now.

Aw, goodness. She's fantastic.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:22 PM on December 8, 2009


Wow, I was still a fetus at her age. It is hard to match that little girl with the relative sophistication of the writing. Impressive.
posted by pinky at 6:39 PM on December 8, 2009


That girl totally embodies gamine.

hyperchouette!
posted by leotrotsky at 6:40 PM on December 8, 2009


Tavi is amazing! She seems truly interested in the artistic side of fashion--her outfits are totally uncool as far as any normal 7th grader is concerned, so I don't get how she has anything to do with the negative side of fashion culture. Sure, it's expensive, but so is 'normal' art. Popular culture's attitude towards and portrayal of fashion does not equal fashion.
posted by supernaturelle at 6:41 PM on December 8, 2009


I love that something reminded her of a fashion show from before she was born. This is the strange new world of kids raised on YouTube.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 6:44 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow I don't get this. Bully for her though.
posted by diogenes at 6:45 PM on December 8, 2009


For one week I was in Utopia full of people who can recognise that my jacket is Luella.

Isn't there something a little fucked up about the fact that she cares whether or not anyone recognizes who made her jacket?
posted by diogenes at 6:49 PM on December 8, 2009


Um, no more so than being happy that in conversation folks get your reference to Baudrillard. ...or in recognizing your cubist print being georges braque instead of picasso, or appreciating the rare gems of your vinyl collection. It's about being among people who share your passions
posted by leotrotsky at 6:55 PM on December 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not really. Like most kids who geek out on things, she probably doesn't have much chance to talk to people in person about what fascinates her. I don't think it's so much about being seen as it is the camaraderie of it all.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 6:58 PM on December 8, 2009


Isn't there something a little fucked up about the fact that she cares whether or not anyone recognizes who made her jacket?

No more fucked up than hoping someone recognizes the CD you're listening to is Sufjan or whatever.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:05 PM on December 8, 2009


She's ten times the writer that Joshua Tubbs is, I'll say that for her.
posted by Sparx at 7:16 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's never been anything wrong with people looking good and feeling good about it.

Depends on your definition of "looking good" I suppose. Do you honestly think that the fashion industry promotes a healthy and realistic self-image?
posted by Aversion Therapy at 7:31 PM on December 8, 2009


I'll lay money that this kid manages to make a paying career out of either writing about or designing clothes by the time she's 19.


I hope by that age she's become socially conscious and is leading the revolution.
posted by bukharin at 7:32 PM on December 8, 2009


Normally precocious kids write as if they are purposely trying to irritate the hell out of me. I am impressed as all get out by this one. Sharp, funny, sweet, interesting, all about a topic I could not possibly care about. Wow.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:59 PM on December 8, 2009


Isn't there something a little fucked up about the fact that she cares whether or not anyone recognizes who made her jacket?

Pretty normal obsession for a twelve-year-old, I suspect. I'd be more concerned if she was twenty-two.
posted by philip-random at 8:06 PM on December 8, 2009


ME: There's never been anything wrong with people looking good and feeling good about it.

aversion therapy: Depends on your definition of "looking good" I suppose. Do you honestly think that the fashion industry promotes a healthy and realistic self-image?

I think that the "fashion industry" is huge and impossible to pin down as promoting any particular thing. What gets the headlines, of course, is the negative stuff (heroin chic, bling etc). Anyway, to clarify my point, I consider "looking good" to mean "looking healthy, happy, engaged, enthused, committed to life". I love it when people manage to present this sort of feeling via what they choose to wear.
posted by philip-random at 8:16 PM on December 8, 2009


Depends on your definition of "looking good" I suppose. Do you honestly think that the fashion industry promotes a healthy and realistic self-image?

I think that Tavi is coming from a pretty good place on that:

'I have to be honest, wearing this really does make you feel super cool and like a totally other person. I don't mean "You'll be a new woman! It'll transform your life! You'll be confident in your weight, and start dating again!" I mean I totally felt like I lived in Santa Cruz a couple decades ago and knew how to surf or skateboard or something. Good thing I didn't try because that would result in massive injuries and, more importantly, shirt stains!'

Not everyone responds to the fashion industry by feeling bad about themselves.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:23 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


And reading through her tumblr postings is really odd. Much of her posting is political/feminist (in my brief glance of the lot). This is a very engaged kid, not some passive consumer.

From a Believer article by Michelle Tea, a lesbian writer who lives in San Francisco, about traveling to Paris Fashion Week with The Gossip:
The dresses cost upward of ten thousand dollars at Barneys. At one time in my psychological development, this would have made me hate the dresses, hate the designers, hate those poseur Mulleavy sisters, hate anyone and everyone who could afford them, hate capitalism [...] Now I think—when I go into Barneys to visit these dresses (the way I have gone into the SPCA to visit with various animals I can't adopt), to just pet their glorious fabrics and marvel at the endless detailing and giggle at the whimsical appliques—I think: It isn't the dress's fault it's so expensive. I love it like a living thing, and visit it at this department store. I don't love a painting on a museum wall any less for my not being able to own it, do I?
posted by eggplantplacebo at 8:30 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nothing to do with that quote in particular, but: God, I hate Michelle Tea.

I'd take Tavi over her any day.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:59 PM on December 8, 2009


(Also, addressing the quote: Tea is limiting fashion to the product it sells, and not the environment in which it operates. It's the equivalent of looking at a religious object in a museum, and appreciating it aesthetically, while ignoring its full ritual or situational context. The fashion world doesn't just make $10,000 dresses. It also makes magazines, and model apartments, and bottle service, and seating arrangements at shows. It's not just a craft, but a culture.)
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:07 PM on December 8, 2009


Are her parents big shot celebrities or something? Or is she getting into stuff like MOCA on the strength of her blog alone?

She's has some influential friends with connections to Wilco.
posted by mike3k at 9:15 PM on December 8, 2009


I came across this so long ago, and it just seemed too weird to post. Its impressive, but at the same time it just seemed like posting a link for a bunch of adults to talk to a child. She's clearly ahead of schedule, but with the pictures and what not, it just seemed like it would be cool if she was hanging out and talking to and responding to people her age. I know I'm in the minority here, which is fine.
posted by cashman at 9:23 PM on December 8, 2009


What Tavi is on her own merit is what the fashion industry (et al.) try to sell (as lifestyle) through the consumption of their goods. She's already proven her taste is better than 99% of the world, both because she's a naturally gifted child and (I'm guessing) because she learned about her passion via the web, instead of through the glossy photo magazines of yesteryear (can I say that yet?) that transmit only one-dimensional image. She's been able to pick out the good parts: the creative impulse, the artistic aspect, an honesty and a JOY in fashion and present them effortlessly. I hope she's smart enough to dodge whatever backlash may come of her increased (and increasing) exposure. That's my worry. Hopefully the dark side never comes for her, but it is a nasty business, as we all know.

If this is what a more democratized media gets us, I for one welcome our new child overlords. I am also jealous that she is hanging out with Chloe Sevigny and I am not.
posted by mike_bling at 9:48 PM on December 8, 2009


"No more fucked up than hoping someone recognizes the CD you're listening to is Sufjan or whatever."

Yeah, but that's still fucked up and pretentious, even if it's a pretty common feeling.

The other thing that I'll note, and maybe this is just because I hit my wall early with her blog, is that one of the reasons that precociousness tends to be exalted by industry in putative critics is because kids are generally naive and unreflective. Their passion is engaging, being pure passion, but that lack of distance and, well, cynicism, means that they're more easily manipulated into being uncritical consumers and encouraging us as an audience to see that as a pure and desirable mode of being. On some level, we're jealous of the aesthetes, even though pure sensuality is an unhealthy approach to nearly anything. Tavi's blog is cute, but, at least to me, it's not engaging. It doesn't make me see anything with a new perspective; it doesn't make me think about the ideals of design or how particular pieces of clothing interact with society. I realize it's rather unfair to dismiss a 13-year-old for being insufficiently critical, so I want to emphasize that isn't my intent. Rather, it's to question the enthusiasm of adults for uncritical voices, especially while exalting those voices as critics, as taste makers.

And while luriete took flack for her snark, I don't think that that concerns about young people, consumerism and conditioning are inapt here. Encouraging Tavi in her love of fashion is important, but it's at least as important to encourage her to adopt a critical view of fashion.

Oh, and one last thing—I started a music 'zine with a web presence when I was just a little bit older than she was (the website was even hosted by Angelfire!) and had a lot of fun with it, got free music and talked to a lot of cool people because of it (though she's more successful than I ever was). So it's not like I'm anti-Tavi or kids with dreams or anything. I just kind of recognize the arc of critical consciousness and hope she gets some folks able to counter-balance the rather shallow messages that she's going to get from a whole lot of people.
posted by klangklangston at 11:16 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gol dang it, this girl is awesome but today is my 27th birthday and now I feel old. And that's not right.
posted by redsparkler at 11:47 PM on December 8, 2009


I am mildly embarrassed by the things that I created when I was her age; what I am struck by is the fact that she won't have much to be embarrassed about when she is older.
posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 4:39 AM on December 9, 2009


I <3 Tavi. Also, if you replace her fashionable clothes with a dopey sweater, she looks EERIELY like me at 13. EERIE.

Oh, 13 year old self, what were you thinking with that sweater in the first place?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:08 AM on December 9, 2009


I'm instantly smitten, and I think it is really cool that her parents are supportive of what she is doing.
posted by so much modern time at 6:17 AM on December 9, 2009


Depends on your definition of "looking good" I suppose. Do you honestly think that the fashion industry promotes a healthy and realistic self-image?

The fashion industry does not sell or promote self-images, period. They are not responsible for being role-models of how women should look, because the women chosen to be clothing models are not chosen as representatives of the "ideal woman."

This point seems to be lost on a lot of people, and it's certainly blurred in this age of celebrity models, but fashion models are, in essence, moving mannequins. While they are expected to be pretty, they're supposed to be the background to the clothing. They're traditionally thin because you can add padding under a dress, but you can't necessarily fit a curvy woman into a style that only fits on a relatively thin woman. That, and again, the woman's not supposed to out-shine the clothing. If she's curvy, with lovely hips and breasts, the dress might get less attention than the model.

Is this wrong? Not at all. They're chosen for their bodies in order to properly carry the clothing. It's a requirement of the job. If robotics were more advanced, we might not even see women wearing the clothes at all.

If you want to point fingers, you should look more toward Hollywood, casting strikingly beautiful women and men as representative of the "average" person. Alternately, blame clothing stores, where their clothing models are supposed to be representative of the "average" person, a person who might wear those clothes. There is, however, a vast difference between a fashion model wearing a $100,000 dress for a fashion show, and a clothing model wearing a $30 bra for Victoria's Secret. Only the latter is really expected to even be human.
posted by explosion at 6:45 AM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is this wrong? Not at all. They're chosen for their bodies in order to properly carry the clothing. It's a requirement of the job. If robotics were more advanced, we might not even see women wearing the clothes at all.
Ok, that's just silly. I accept that fashion at the highest level is an art. But like every other art, fashion has to be funded. The people who create fashion have to have money to live on, and their materials aren't available for free. In this, they are no different from painters, sculptors, and wood turners. The payment model for fashion is that people buy the clothes to wear them. Very few people buy beautiful clothes so they can display the clothes in their houses like a painting. The industry cannot be sustained solely by selling pieces to museums. And therefore, the human body is not irrelevant to fashion. Fashion only exists because it adorns actual, living bodies.

I think Tavi is swell, but I do worry about whether all her fashion-industry fans are going to find her as adorable and gamine after she hits puberty.
posted by craichead at 7:03 AM on December 9, 2009


This point seems to be lost on a lot of people, and it's certainly blurred in this age of celebrity models, but fashion models are, in essence, moving mannequins. While they are expected to be pretty, they're supposed to be the background to the clothing. They're traditionally thin because you can add padding under a dress, but you can't necessarily fit a curvy woman into a style that only fits on a relatively thin woman. That, and again, the woman's not supposed to out-shine the clothing. If she's curvy, with lovely hips and breasts, the dress might get less attention than the model.

Is this wrong? Not at all. They're chosen for their bodies in order to properly carry the clothing. It's a requirement of the job. If robotics were more advanced, we might not even see women wearing the clothes at all.


Yes, absolutely. I've worked as a model and this is just absolutely dead-on. I was a size 10 at the time and got A LOT of attention from designers as a "plus-sized" model - I actually had a number of designers upset that they couldn't fit their samples on me because they liked my shape - but - and here's the thing about MODELING - the designers aren't showing actual clothes on models. They're showing samples. They make one of each design, and only one, and that ONE is pinned on the model.

The model is chosen to fit the sample, not the other way around. If the sample is smaller than the model, a smaller model must be chosen. Samples are SMALL - the average is a size 2-4. Part of this is because that's the size that "looks best" on a model, and part of it is that smaller clothes are cheaper to make.

The clothes that are modeled are incredibly different from what you buy on the rack. Even if they look "the same," that model is taped & pinned into the outfit EXACTLY as the designer wants her. It's never going to be exactly the same interpreted by someone else.

Haute couture (runway fashion) and regular "ready to wear" clothes are very, VERY different beasts. Designers don't make haute couture to be worn off the runway. And they don't really earn much money from the shows - how the financial end works is that a designer has to have a successful ready-to-wear line to fund their haute couture projects. And actually, the MOST money is in accessories as they're not sized at all and people will pay hundreds of dollars for a "luxury item" such as a purse, but not necessarily shell out big bucks for a shirt.

I love fashion, and to see haute couture equated with ready-to-wear is a really common misunderstanding and one that obviously leads to a lot of messages to women that the runway models are the "ideal" women, when really, they're just the ideal walking coat hangers.

(Again, I say this as someone who has been one of those walking coat hangers.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:19 AM on December 9, 2009


explosion: "The fashion industry does not sell or promote self-images, period."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
posted by shmegegge at 7:51 AM on December 9, 2009


Manic Pixie Dream Girl has a blog.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:52 AM on December 9, 2009


The whole thing only works, though, because women buying ready-to-wear associate it with the stuff on the runways. That association is fundamental to the workings of the industry: it's not just some mistake that dumb consumers make because we lack your expertise. That "mistake" is the point of the entire runway exercise. Consumers may be delusional to think that when they wear ready-to-wear, they in any way project the same image as the models on the runway, but that delusion is the reason that runway shows and spreads in Vogue are effective ways to market brands.
posted by craichead at 8:16 AM on December 9, 2009


I think explosion and grapefruitmoon absolutely nailed it.

I also think it's VERY kneejerk and message-board-y to say "Boo-hoo, the fashion industry" - it's like when someone feels the need interrupt a music thread with a rant about why they hate a particular artist or musical genre: I just end up rolling my eyes and thinking "do we HAVE to do this? Really?"

I'm a 35-year-old male and pretty far from a fashionista (though I do put SOME effort into the way I present myself). While I don't share Tavi's passion, I recognize the unadulterated joy she takes from it.

And how can you not love a one-liner like "It's only like the second week of school when all we do is like sharpen pencils and talk about not bullying"???
posted by tantrumthecat at 8:56 AM on December 9, 2009


Part of this is because that's the size that "looks best" on a model

I thought you said the models were chosen to fit the sample?
posted by kenko at 8:58 AM on December 9, 2009


Sorry for the confusion: yes, the specific model is chosen to fit the sample, but the sample is sized to fit a small person because a size 2-4 is more about the shape of the garment and less about "extra" fabric to cover a larger frame.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:06 AM on December 9, 2009


I think it's cool that a focused writer can get national exposure at 13. That she writes about fashion is largely incidental.

I'm more concerned about what this says, culturally- about the strong drift towards 'Building Yourself as a Brand!' and 'Controlling Your Online Marketing'-type think. I'd want a hypothetical 13 year-old daughter to be enjoying her childhood, not necessarily constructing a highly-connected blog empire.

I'm interested in how she'll turn out. I'm sure that her focus will drift with age, she's clearly got a knack for concise, well-observed pieces.
posted by mrdaneri at 9:58 AM on December 9, 2009


Precocious prepubescent plays hobo dress up and flexes growing personality by identifying with idiosyncratic subcultures. Film at never.
posted by clarknova at 10:01 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


From today's Jezebel:

Vogue is doing a shoot with fashion bloggers. Somehow our invitation must have gotten lost in the post! There are allegedly seven bloggers involved, and only three of them have been named: Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil, BryanBoy, and Todd Selby of The Selby. Who are the others? Garance Doré recently mentioned losing weight thanks to Anna Wintour in New York, and Tavi Gevinson certainly merits inclusion. Seeing the women behind Refinery29 would also be great (although they were just in Elle). But how much do you wanna bet it'll just be Julia Frakes and Sea of Shoes again? [Fashionista]
  • Speaking of Tavi: She plays a prominent role in this video about the Rodarte for Target collection. You won't spend a better 2:37 today than watching Tavi interview Elijah Wood and Jason Schwartzman at the Rodarte show, or seeing the Target ad shoot in surprisingly picturesque North Dakota. [Style.com]
  • And Tavi is now writing for Harper's Bazaar. [WWD]

  • posted by k8t at 10:41 AM on December 9, 2009


    I'd want a hypothetical 13 year-old daughter to be enjoying her childhood, not necessarily constructing a highly-connected blog empire.
    I don't know. Do you think that smart, artistic, highly-verbal, quirky pre-teenagers usually "enjoy their childhoods"? I think that kids like Tavi are typically pretty miserable in junior high school. Maybe I'm projecting wildly, but my hunch is that her fellow sixth graders saw her as "that skinny freak with the weird clothes and dorky glasses," not as a cool and interesting person with a unique sense of style, a way with words, and a talent for taking self-portraits. One way to think of what she's doing is that she's constructing a blog empire, but another way to think of it is that she's finding people who judge her based on her talents and interests, not based on her ability to succeed in the Machiavellian world of junior high school power politics. The fashion industry might be filled with vipers, but for sheer soul-crushing evilness, I'm not sure they've got anything on your garden-variety 12-year-old mean girl.

    (And according to Spencer Tweedy, they met and became friends because he read her blog. So maybe the blog is an avenue to meeting real-life friends who are her own age.)

    I'm just worried that the fashion types won't be as interested in her when she's 16, rather than 13: a teenage fashion blogger isn't nearly as novel as a little girl fashion blogger. And I guess I also don't know how she's going to deal with puberty and all its attendant challenges. There's a reason that most girls go through a really awkward phase when they're right around 13 and 14 or so. It's not just that it's different to dress a body with curves than a body without them. It's also that once you've got a womanly body, fashion is at least partly about sexuality, whether you want it to be or not. That's something that all teenage girls have to learn to negotiate, and I don't think I'd want to negotiate it on camera, with the entire fashion industry watching. Not to mention that part of the reason that the blog seems cute and not creepy is that she doesn't project any sexuality at all. Is that still going to be true when she's not a little girl anymore?

    Actually, I'm not even sure whether it's creepy to ask those questions!
    posted by craichead at 11:08 AM on December 9, 2009


    Do you think that smart, artistic, highly-verbal, quirky pre-teenagers usually "enjoy their childhoods"? I think that kids like Tavi are typically pretty miserable in junior high school. Maybe I'm projecting wildly, but my hunch is that her fellow sixth graders saw her as "that skinny freak with the weird clothes and dorky glasses," not as a cool and interesting person with a unique sense of style, a way with words, and a talent for taking self-portraits.

    Actually, you're probably right on the money - and maybe this is why I think is so awesome, because she's going to bypass SO MUCH social B.S. by carving out her own path.
    posted by tantrumthecat at 4:54 PM on December 9, 2009


    Tavi's great. Such a fun writer and so creative. It seems to me that her style & a lot of the fashion she really loves is not going to be difficult to wear and continue wearing in the same ways as she gets older. Comme des Garcons is always going to be there. She'll be fine.
    posted by citron at 12:21 AM on December 10, 2009


    And the Tavi backlash begins.
    posted by k8t at 2:46 PM on December 10, 2009


    Anne Slowey writes the way a dog dances, so she can fuck right off.

    "Is thinking my vintage john galliano-esqu black sheer lace gown I bought in Vegas for 12 bucks will be perfect for tonights pajama party!"

    "Is back on the jil petitjohn juice fast! 9 pounds in 4 days or else!!!"
    posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:03 PM on December 10, 2009


    Wow - I had no idea she was famous. I know this family; Tavi, since she was a baby. Saw her last week at the library. Tavi's older sisters are smart and interesting, too, so she got to develop her own thing without too much parental scrutiny. Her mom is an amazing artist, working mostly in fiber arts and beautiful woven pieces.
    posted by readery at 8:21 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


    « Older The House Behind A Weeping Cherry by Ha Jin...  |  Everything in life is real. A ... Newer »


    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments