Monday, 8 February 2010

the trouble with tavi; or 'why IS everyone jealous of a 13-year-old?'

There seems to have been an influx of Tavi related posts around lately - on blogs that I read; blogs that they've linked too; in magazines; quotes on sites from various fashion aficionados....etc etc.
Hell, she even defended/commented on her own mass of press in a recent blog post.

I never really intended to join in with this somewhat random trend - it wasn't necessary. It
isn't necessary. I'm not in the habit of commenting on other blogs - there's room for everyone in the blogosphere; you read those that you want, you bookmark what you like, you forget what you don't - but sometimes it's good to articulate things, and rather than dabble in the aforementioned influx of posts, leaving comments, I might as well put my thoughts all together in one place.

If you have been living under a rock, or y'know, aren't immersed fully within the fashion blogging world then really do click the link above and ponder Tavi's blog.
Ponder far enough to see some of her writing on fashion and also some of her outfit posts - I honestly do think she writes in an interesting way, and I follow her blog because of the way she writes.
Also...well, I mean, when I was 13 I was busy playing on Neopets and such like, so to see someone at that age be so passionate about something is kinda sweet, if a little precocious. Which is something I too have been labelled in the past.

One thing I won't really comment on, though, are claims that 'it's not her who writes it'. The claim that comes to mind cites the
Rodarte video Tavi made for their Target line as their source, saying that in person, the way she talks of fashion doesn't sit with the blog musings. I haven't seen the video, but I second some comments I've seen that express their disbelief that anyone who would write a blog like that; that successful; would let a middle school student take the credit.

My only...problem? That's not the word, but that's the only one I can think of. My reservation, perhaps. Or, my first thought upon hearing of her and checking her out... is that Tavi's style isn't all
that, to me. I know, I know, style is subjective, but I think the point is that, to me, her style only works because of her age.
The 'throw anything on' approach sometimes comes close to bag lady territory in my eyes, but at 13 that's
ok, even kind of cute. A juxtaposition, certainly. I understand the interest, but it's not for me.
But that's fine. As I said, style is subjective and my style isn't for everyone, as is true of any blogger. Any PERSON.

I can't help but bring to mind a memory of myself at around that age. Early 2000's. Height of boho. Wore a cream maxi/gypsy style skirt to non-uniform day at school and was the source of much bemusement to my classmates, who were all dressed in jeans or tracksuit bottoms. God knows what would've happened to me had I been as often OTT as Tavi...

To address this blog title though...
she's everywhere.
She's front row at Dior Couture.
She's writing for POP and Harper's Bazaar.
She is, essentially, living the dream life of a fashion journalist; but without having "earned it".

I don't mean to say she hasn't written in an interesting manner, expressed views, engaged readers and otherwise been a journalist, but I'm imagining this from the perspective of those who consider themselves "real" journalists; those who've worked for years to earn degrees and worked their way up in the industry, probably in the days before blogs, who are suddenly competing for jobs with girls who won't be joining the working world for at least another 5 years (and that's if she doesn't go to college, which given her clearly high IQ level is unlikely, right?).

Lesley Blume, Style Editor for the Huffington Post thinks "...she’s very dear, but I think it’s crazy. I think it was insulting enough when we were expected as adult women to take our fashion cues from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. All of a sudden women in the fashion world were starting to look like bag ladies. I mean, that’s very silly."
(which is a good read)

To Ms Blume, I say: What does age have to do with style? Really? As we get older, perhaps, tastes get more refined, but the highly influential street style blogs are saturated with young people. Not usually as young as Tavi, but certainly teens and 20-somethings.

Essentially, it seems to boil down to this:
the backlash has begun.
As is normal for any phenomenon which blows up in such a manner as Tavi-madness has, people - it must be said, particularly those in the industry, including such heavyweights as Anne Slowey off of Elle magazine - have begun to question the sanity of the situation. In fact, Slowey's words were as follows:

People in fashion are constantly looking for the next unique boundary-pushing extreme thing to get excited about, but, you know, it’s like outsider art. 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? That’s what an editor’s job at a magazine is."

To read a blog is one thing. You choose to read, you choose not to, you make your presuppositions about the person who writes the blog. But I suppose what Slowey means is; people choose to read Tavi's views on fashion on her blog, but for these views to be in a magazine is to assume people should value her opinion.

Surely this is where the jealousy sets in. There's going to shows and being a bit of a fashion darling - and there are plenty of bloggers these days who do get invited to shows and presentations and work with designers on varying projects - and then there's writing for magazines; the big hitters.

It's a little ridiculous for the editors of such magazines to get up on their high horses about it, but I could understand why, say, a freelancer might worry and even hit out at bloggers - not just Tavi, of course - who are writing in guest spots and columns which they could be writing in; making money for.
But it comes down to what's going to sell magazines, whether by good writing or publicity. Those hitting out should probably consider spending less time ranting about 'those damn teenagers' and more time honing their talents, less they come off petty and bitter.

As for those not being professionally "threatened" by Tavi's opportunities of writing and attending shows and such - man up. Yeah, we'd all love a gifted Stephen Jones hat, but if it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen. Plus, yknow, jealousy isn't a good look.

Basically, for all the rise in blogging and "the fall of paper media", there is a certain audience for each, and there are a large portion of those who read Vogue, Elle or Harper's who don't read blogs.
To be published in one of these magazines is a big deal; a piece which will a) be read be thousands; millions of people and b) likely be on record for ever, at that. (I mean, our Uni library has every UK & US Vogue ever published available for the reading) - and it means the fashion people; those who have real influence over fashion; value your opinion and think their readers should too.

And quite frankly, who wouldn't be jealous of that?

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mam said...

Good observations. I have heard of Tavi! And I think I remember the skirt you mention wearing - did you get it in Berwick? ;)xxx

marion said...

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