By Rebecca Lawson
Rebecca is a senior at Walter Payton College Prep and reporter for The Mash, a weekly teen publication distributed to Chicagoland high schools.
The Mash talked to Tavi Gevinson, a darling of the fashion world and sophomore at Oak Park and River Forest. Read her blog at thestylerookie.com and visit themash.com to hear audio from this interview.
Your blog got so popular when you were so young. There are teens out there who have similar dreams but may feel intimidated. What would you say to them?
Tavi Gevinson: I don’t know if there’s a formula for how to get your blog out there. I know that I was really lucky, and obviously a lot of people were surprised by my age, but I think people also appreciated that. It was really obvious that I was passionate about what I was writing about... I mean, enthusiasm and being cool don’t typically go together, but no one wants to read something where the writer doesn’t seem like they care or whatever. I feel like if you’re interested in what you’re writing about and if what you’re writing about is something you care about and not what’s trendy or what you’re seeing on all these other major sites, at the very least you’ll be enjoying it and having fun.
Do you recommend any stores for our readers who want to try to emulate your style without breaking their budget? TG: I honestly shop mostly at thrift stores. I think there’s a big difference between thrift and vintage. Vintage stores are usually more expensive and it’s already picked out for you, but I like thrift stores because they’re cheaper and I kind of like having to find the gems. I just go to the Salvation Army, that’s the cheapest. And I look on Etsy for nicer vintage things that are maybe a little more expensive. And it’s good to keep an eye out for vintage fairs or events.
What do you like to do for fun?
TG: I write stuff just for myself [that are] partly diaries, just being random. And I make ‘zines (online magazines), watch a lot of TV and movies, read and do homework, and other things that are interesting.
What comes to your mind when you think of Chicago fashion?
TG: The thing I kind of like about Chicago is that it’s not really a fashion city. I think it’s refreshing and... Being around more art and music and that kind of thing can be inspiring in that way. I have these two friends who design a label called Creatures of the Wind, and they’re always talking about how glad [they are that] they’re not in New York because they would feel so influenced by their people, so I kind of like that in Chicago. ... When I think of Chicago fashion, the store Ikram (comes to mind), which is where I go to ... window shop and daydream. Ikram is Michelle Obama’s stylist and Michelle Obama has cool style and is definitely a Chicago representative.
Do you have any idea what your plans are after high school? Do you know if or where you want to go to college?
TG: I’d like to go to college in California just because I really love California, but I don’t know which school exactly. And I think I want to take a year off first just to focus on one thing, because it can be a bit much doing everything and school. But beyond that, I don’t really know. I don’t know what I want to study yet.