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The Golden Example

Recap: For my conference project, I have been studying social media’s effect on the fashion industry, and the ways in which social media has made this notoriously exclusive field, more accessible (for non-fashion insiders).

Blogging, is the platform that I have analyzed as a means for people to infiltrate the fashion world. There have been numerous success stories of bloggers—such as ones that I have previously blogged about including Scott Schuman, Rumi Neely, and Jane Aldridge. However, the example that proves the significantimpact social media has had on the fashion industry is Tavi Gevinson, the blogger behind the blog, Style Rookie. Gevinson hails from suburban Oak Park, Illinois, and started her blog in 2008, at the age of twelve. In the early days of her blog, her content included “ootd” posts and her commentary on the latest fashion trends.

Her blog was an instant success and soon began attracting 30,000 readers a day. It was not long until the fashion world caught on. Designers were intrigued by the tiny twelve-year old girl, who had a different viewpoint and quirky style—at her first fashion show she came with her hair cut short and dyed grey. In a recent interview, actress Emma Watson, interviews Tavi, and refers to her as “Benjamin Button” (the movie about a man who was born old, and gets younger). I think this is really a very keen and insightful observation.  There is something different about Tavi—she is an old soul. That is why it was almost humorous and unbelievable that such a tiny and young girl could have such profound, insightful and unique observations.

Although readers and designers were instant fans of Gevinson, fashion editors did not share the same adoration.  Editors who worked for famed institutions felt that it was unfair that these blogger with “instant fame” were sitting front row, when they had to work their way up the ladder through blood, sweat, and tears. I think this backlash, although, often not talked about is interesting and worth examining. This notion definitely points out the changes in how one can become successful. I will go into this later in my post.

Despite editors’ dismay, Gevinson’s career continued to prosper.  She continued with her blog, amassing even more followers, made trips abroad for fashion related projects, continued attending fashion week, and collaborated with the renowned fashion brand, Rodarte, on a collection for Target where she acted as muse and model. 

More recently Gevinson’s interests have evolved from fashion to feminism and pop culture. In the fall of 2011 she created Rookie Magazine, devoted to discussing issues relating to teenage girls, and written by teenage girls. Although primarily an online magazine, there have been two editions printed, Rookie Year Book One, and Rookie Year Book Two. This magazine has been as widely successful as her blog.

 

Even more recently, Gevinson has delved into acting. In 2008 she first acted in First Bass, and then Cadavar. She also acted in the more popularly known film, Enough Said, with costars including Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and James Gandolfini, in addition to making a guest appearance on the show Parenthood.

It is abundantly clear that Tavi Gevinson is talented. Her many talents include her fashion sense and commentary, her ability as a writer and editor, and more recently as an actress.  Gevinson would not have had these early achievements if it were not from her blog. It is probable that she would have achieved great things as an adult, but if it were not for social media, it is safe to say Gevinson would have had an entirely different childhood and adolescence.  Blogging and social media has made it possible for “outsiders” of the fashion world to have access and equality into a previously iron-clad exclusive world. Blogging has allowed people visibility. Gevinson, a girl from the suburban Illinois would have had no way to access a world miles away if it had not been for her blog and the internet. Gevinson is the golden example ofthe enormous impact social media and blogging has had on the fashion industry.

Through my research of Gevinson, a new thought emerged. The golden age of blogging seems to be in 2008. It seems as if the advent and popularization of blogging also coincided with the fashion worlds, specifically designers’ urgent need for fresh inspiration and ideas. Would blogging have been as successful at a different point in time?

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 DISCUSSION
#1 POSTED BY Zoe Sera Goetzmann, 04/28 12:17 AM

I am completely fascinated with your analysis of Tavi Gevinson's sudden fashion blogging 'success.' Similar to my project, it is often difficult to fathom how exactly these bloggers or v-loggers become so popular! There is not really an exact science to their success. More importantly, i agree with your point on whether this same success could be applied to other bloggers, as well. What distinguishes life style bloggers from the rest of the 'blogosphere?' Moreover ,why do people find blogging so intriguing? 

#2 POSTED BY Wade Wallerstein, 04/29 5:11 PM

Wow wow wow! I love this post! Tavi Gevinson was the very first fashion blogger that I ever obsessively followed. Her style aesthetic influenced me a lot in middle and high school. Beyond that, she is one of the most powerful micro celebrities out there. In fact, she is so good at being a microcelebrity that she has actually transcended and become a bona fide celebrity. What sets her aside from other bloggers is her almost psychic ability to always know what is "cool" or "hip." Even at the age of twelve, she was acutely aware of the kind of looks that would appeal to her audience. While obviously aesthetically gifted,Over time, however, some kind of deep-seated jealousy started to grow in me towards her. What really set me over the edge was the year that Anna Wintour personally invited her to attend fashion week by her side. Yeah, this girl has really great style that is mostly original, but at the same time how authentic can she be when she is literally picking and choosing "cool" things and re-posting them to her blog? I became disillusioned by her mastery of the art of personal branding and for a long time couldn't see her as authentic. Recently I've gotten over this. I still check rookiemag weekly!

#3 POSTED BY Wade Wallerstein, 04/29 5:13 PM

I also love that you describe her as "the golden example," this couldn't be more accurate! I've never been able to 100% say for sure whether her meteoric rise was due to talent or luck. 

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