Anyone discovering Tavi Gevinson for the first time today would see the editor, model, movie star, public speaker, music video star and writer has her fingers in an endless number of pies. It’s her interest in fashion, though, that first caught the world’s attention when, at 11 years old, Tavi launched her blog Style Rookie and helped fashion blogging to become as relevant in reality as it was online.
“Being a character was really exciting to me,” Tavi says in the new closet video on StyleLikeU, when explaining how her childhood years in local plays and musicals influenced her desire to dress up.
In the video (an excerpt of which is above; the full-length can be found on the StyleLikeU website), Tavi discusses her attachment to films like The Virgin Suicides, TV shows like Freaks and Geeks and bands like Hole in an effort to vocalize how their themes translate into her personal style (the most obvious example being the Meadham Kirchoff sweater bearing the image of a witch flying her broomstick across a heart-shaped moon that also graces the album art of Hole’s seminal ‘Live Through This’ record). From her bedroom in Chicago, she explains to StyleLikeU’s Lily Mandelbaum and Elisa Goodkind how people react to what she wears, the effect feminism has on her self-image and her attitude towards fashion week.
“We felt immediately connected to Tavi because of how down-to-earth and open she was,” Lily explained. “It was refreshing to see how “normal” her life is, despite the fact that she answered the door in a floor length seventies dress and cat-eye makeup. Our five-hour interview felt like five minutes, as we discussed everything from nostalgia, the Virgin Suicides, “that girl” syndrome, and high school as a parody of itself, to feminism, pop culture, sitting in the front row at Fashion Week, and Tavi’s dream of becoming a film maker. Tavi is the ultimate representation of what we search for in our subjects, as her clothing has all to do with her deep imagination and endless fascinating interests—it is truly the externalization of the depth of her spirit and mind. ”
We spoke to Tavi about the experience of shooting with StyleLikeU and so thoroughly detailing her life through clothes. Scroll down for the interview.
Before Rookie, most people knew you because of the things you wore. How did it feel to open up your closet to StyleLikeU and make that element of your personality so transparent?
It didn’t feel like a huge reveal or transparency since I used to write and post photos of my outfits and room and closet on my blog a lot, but I haven’t in a while so it was nice to have a day of plain ole dress up again. I haven’t done that in a while so it was really fun, especially while in conversation with Lily and Elisa, and thinking and talking about all the things that make fashion so interesting to me.
In the New York Magazine video of you packing for NYFW, you expressed every clothes horse’s lament: to have a closet full of clothes and seemingly “nothing to wear”. How often do you feel that way? How much time do you spend making the decision of what to wear on your average school day?
Every now and then…when I get some new inspiration, a movie I just saw for the first time or something, and I feel like nothing in my closet fits that aesthetic when all I want to do is BE THAT MOVIE or whatever. On the average school day I spend maybe 20 minutes? Unless I sleep in.
You mention in the StyleLikeU video that fictional characters often inspire your clothing choices and dictate your style. What are you reading/watching/listening to now and how is that affecting what you’re wearing?
Normally I go through a different kind of mood or aesthetic every month, and I’ll make a zine or blog post or both of images that inspire it and short passages of writing or writing from my diary that explain how it all ties together…like Ghost World with ’50s diners with depressing houses with weird pastel buildings in Japan, for example, here. And geography and time periods make a huge difference. Right now though, I started listening to Galaxie 500 recently, and I felt like it existed outside of time and space, so all the images I’m compiling for a little book for myself are across all decades and places, as opposed to being like, “70S MIDWEST” or whatever, and aren’t really of any movies or characters, just strange, found photos, like old family photos, and photos of space. And photos of the band members of Galaxie 500.
If you could keep only one thing from your closet, what would it be?
Aghh! Maybe this jacket from the 60s I have, it has jokes from the Laugh-In printed all over it, and is amazing and goes with everything cause it’s so bonkers.