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At the young age of 11, Tavi Gevinson was dictating fashion trends and snapping pictures of her own colorful styles, posting them on her personal blog. Before long, her blog had garnered about 50,000 visitors a day. Now some Major League names are recognizing Tavi as one of the most critical eyes in the world of fashion.
Text: Matthew Wilkinson
Photos: Courtesy of Tavi Gevinson
Country: United States

hile most pre-teen girls are going through “that awkward phase” as they transition from elementary school to middle school, Tavi Gevinson was going through something different.

The 11-year-old Jewish girl from the suburbs of Chicago took notice of how much she enjoyed making binders and slideshows of “high fashion” modeling and designs from her favorite magazines and blogs and decided to do something about it. Using Google’s Blogger.com, Gevinson created her own blog and called herself “The Style Rookie.”

But it wasn’t long after that she was promoted to the major leagues.

After just eight months of blogging, Gevinson’s blog started creating a buzz. With a sharp analysis of fashion magazines and photos of the edgy daily outfits she put together mostly from thrift store scores, her blog started racking up more than 50,000 viewers daily.

Most critics assumed her blog was a fake. It seemed too polished and professional to be done by a girl of such a young age that wasn’t in the industry.

But Kate and Laura Mulleavy took a chance. The sisters and innovators of an award-winning fashion label called Rodarte reached out and made contact with the young writer shortly after stumbling upon her blog. The sisters recognized that Gevinson saw things differently compared to the average member of the fashion press and wanted to pick her brain.

She became a muse for the Mulleavys, an outspoken fangirl with a fashion sense. And just like that, she had her foot in the door of the world of fashion.

Gevinson, or just “Tavi” as people in the fashion industry know her, is now 14 and has become a household name to fashionistas. She’s written a guest column in Harper’s Bazaar, designed her own T-shirt with fashion line Borders & Frontiers, was named the spokesperson for the Mulleavy’s new “Rodarte For Target” collection, and was seen on the sidelines of fashion week, rubbing shoulders with some of her favorite designers, while her father waited patiently outside.

Yet her newfound fame doesn’t come without haters. Elle editor Anne Slowey has publicly ridiculed Tavi as a “gimmick” and well-known fashion writer Lesley M. M. Blume has made it known she thinks Tavi is a novelty.

But that hasn’t slowed down the blogger at all. She recently hired a publicist to help sell advertising on her blog, and had eight pages of the New Yorker dedicated to a feature story on her.

And you can see her in the January 2011 issue of Teen Vogue. They sent her into L.A.M.B. studios to interview No Doubt frontwoman and fashion icon Gwen Stefani for a spread.

But when she’s not freelancing for a major publication or in Europe for an event, Tavi is at home in Chicago facing all the problems any 14-year-old would face: getting made fun of by boys and trying to pass her classes.

“Normally people like to ask ‘why,’ as if I’m trying to protest retail or wearing a grandma dress for the sake of global warming,” Tavi says on her blog in response to some of the looks she gets from classmates. “You learn how to ignore it though. I just think I’m too much of a spiteful narcissist to let it bother me?”

About Tavi

Born in April of 1996
From Chicago, Illinois
Blogging since 2008, when she was 11 years old
Where she shops Thrift stores
How many readers visit her blog per day Approximately 50,000
Her inspiration Blogs, magazines, photography, movies, fine art, plays, street art, music, hobos, books, Japanese street style and the ’70s.
Style icons Marie Antoinette and Courtney Love
On her iTunes Bob Dylan, Wilco, Neutral Milk Hotel, Cat Power, Pete Seeger, Joni Mitchell, Frank Sinatra, Joan Baez and Feist
Five people she’d have to dinner Bob Dylan, Vivienne Westwood, Barack Obama, Yohji Yamamoto, Ethel Merman
Her goal To not compromise herself for her readers

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