Once “The 13-Year-Old Fashion Blogger,” Tavi Gevinson is now officially The 15-Year-Old Editor. Her site for teenage girls, Rookie, is up and running as of yesterday and we’re impressed. Although it’s been a while, I’m pretty sure that if I were a teenager I would think Rookie was the coolest thing ever.
The content and design are cute but not cloying, honest but not too earnest. The site is straight-forward and clever without feeling negative or sarcastic. Lady Gaga called Tavi “the future of journalism” before even seeing Rookie. There’s already talk of it fitting in amongst other “lady sites” like Jezebel, The Hairpin, Hello Giggles and Jane Pratt’s XOJane. Of course, none of those sites have super cute back-to-school fashion editorials like this one (seriously–it’s good). It does have a feminist angle–not in an in-your-face way, but it’s there and is kind of what Tavi is all about these days.
As Tavi’s novelty within the fashion world starts to wear off (right?), she’s successfully becoming a real person who looks like she’ll have a long and important career. She ditched her glasses, is not as excited about fashion as she once was and seems more interested in books than fashion magazines. Like any editor of a highly-anticipated new publication, Tavi’s been giving interviews to promote the site and give her thoughts on things like being a boss, the Jane Pratt situation, fashion week, and more.
On landing on the name, Rookie:
“I wasn’t sure about it at first. It took a long time to come around because I worried that it was too self-referencing…What if we’d called it…bloss…I was going to say ‘Blossom’ and then remembered the TV show. That was different though, that was her name and the premise was very much about her blossoming. I just didn’t want to call the site one of those weird words you only hear when you go to the doctor and talk about ‘developing.’ Or those words that only family friends use when they’re telling you you’ve grown up.”
On being a “boss”:
“A boss? I mean, it’s my job. I’m sure that some people would probably not like taking directions from a teenager but that’s what this site is. Everyone working on it, we’re all feminists here and I don’t think anyone I work with would interpret that being a boss would be like being a bitch or anything.”
“You know, women and girls are taught to ask for things in a way that’s kind of especially shy or especially careful. But when we’re working on deadlines, it’s become easier for me to just, like, straight-up ask for things and say that there’s something I would like to be fixed in some article. And everyone’s a feminist and understands our crazy schedule so… I think I’m making myself sound more awful than I am!”
On (not) paying her contributors:
“Everyone writing for us agreed to do it before there was any money. I said, ‘Right now I have no clue what money looks like but I’m happy to make you ‘zines and give you candy.’”
On being one of the “lady sites”:
“That’s what’s so great about the internet, there are all these sites that are alternative options for women who don’t feel like their needs are being met by mainstream magazines or a more popular website. The point is that everyone be represented. So it’s good that there are different points of view, and that’s why there should be a lot of websites.”
On Jane Pratt:
“There has not been a falling out or anything. When I called her and told her that we were not going to go with the publishing company that does xo Jane, she was totally cool and understood. The only thing now is that she can’t really work on Rookie officially, but she’s still a mentor to me and has been very helpful.”
On Fashion Week and “moving away from fashion”:
“I get kind of sad when I look at all of my magazines and think about how at one time I was much more impressed with a certain fashion editorial, or how I feel like I can’t really relate to being that excited about fashion anymore. Maybe it’s being jaded, but I honestly like that now, when something’s really good, I feel more affected by it. That, to me, is more special.”
“I think it’s been much more exciting for me to find ways for fashion to relate to something like Twin Peaks, rather than to a collection I liked. I mean, I would rather dress like a book character — I don’t really want to spend brainpower strategizing about [what to wear for] street-style photographers when I go to Fashion Week. I also value being comfortable now more than I used to.”
“Yeah, right now I’m going to New York Fashion Week next week and I’m really just going to the shows I want to see and that’s it. Fashion Week to me is like Lollapalooza or the internet, where it’s good to see bands or go to websites and follow the Twitters that you like, but to get really into the scene at Lollapalooza or get super into all that Tumblr popularity is distracting and kind of silly.”
On her “style and life icons”:
“I have a lot, Wednesday Addams is pretty great, Audrey Horne for style, Pippi Longstocking applies to both.”
What do you think of Tavi’s new role in the internet world?