Chances are, if you have even a passing interest in industry fashion, Tavi needs no introduction. Since starting her articulate fashion blog Style Rookie in April 2008, the now fourteen year old has become something of a celebrity both online and off. Case in point: when she wrote about her visit to the WORN Offices last month, I got no less than five e-mails from people I hadn’t spoken to in years saying some variation of “OH MY GOD CONGRATS FOR GETTING MENTIONED ON THE STYLE ROOKIE!” (for the record, friends of mine from middle school, we wrote about it here first).
Tavi was in town for Toronto’s Idea City, at which she spoke about the need for a Sassy-esque teen magazine for the new generation. We had a chance to talk to her about about the state of fashion today.
Is there a difference between fashion and style? If so, what is it?
There definitely is, but I’m not sure how to pinpoint it. I think style has a much clearer definition than fashion, which is such a broad term… I think the difference that is the most clear to me is that style gives more opportunities to be subversive while fashion usually entails rules. If you’re stylish, you’re creative and original, and if you’re fashionable, you know how to look attractive and uncontroversial.
When evaluating a fashion collection, do you think the aesthetics or the context of the clothes are more important?
I think about this a lot. I’m really not sure. I think it’s very difficult to project ideas through clothing, and I like that designers are creative with their sets and music and hair and makeup. It makes it more fun, plus fashion is very much about presentation. And, even if a designer chose not to use these elements at all, they would still be making a statement, I think? So I guess that when I look at a collection, I use the theatrical elements to help me interpret the designer’s message, but I interpret the strength of the actual collection by looking at how well the clothes can stand on their own without being dependent on the set and music and all that.
Gemma Correll is a UK based illustrator and creator of What I Wore Today (Drawings) - a favourite website of many a Wornette. Here, we chat with Gemma about outfit illustrations, zine making and tie-dyed leggings.
How did you dress in high school?
Well, at school itself I didn’t have a lot of choice, since we had to wear a uniform. But outside of school, I was into the “indie” style of tight band T-shirts and flared jeans- although I did also go through a hippy phase (tie-dyed leggings!) which I’d rather forget.
What is a typical workday like for you?
Well, it kind of builds up slowly. I am not a morning person, so I start the day checking my e-mails and guzzling coffee. After that, I run errands, walk my dog, go to the post office… After lunch, I’m ready to work. I’ll usually work from 2pm until 1am, with breaks for food, coffee and pug cuddles.
Hayley Hughes is awesome. She’s a stylist, a street-style photographer, the creative director for Melbourne Street Fashion, and a fashion blogger – well, a fashion everywoman. Needless to say, her blog, Fashion Hayley, has been a long favourite at the WORN office.
What did you dress like in high school?
I was a little crazy in high school. It was 1998 and I was a “grunger”. My fave outfit was: red flares from an op shop (thrift store in USA English), a purple tie dyed slip dress from a market, pink fairy wings, blue hair, nose piercing, fake lip piercing which eventually became real, assortment of bindis on my face and lots of glitter make-up. Oh, and I carried an Elmo doll around who also wore fairy wings.
Have you always worn what you love, or has that come with age?
With me its always been about wearing what I love. Even as a kid when my parents wanted me to wear jeans and a t-shirt I would throw a tantrum because I wanted to wear a dress. My mum eventually just let me go and experiment with fashion however I saw fit. She tells me how my grandparents would call her up and ask mum to please dress me in something more respectable. She never did and I was able to leave the house in all manners of intensely stupid garb, but it was fun.
From reading your blog, I get the impression that you have a pretty profound love for Japan. Where did that come from?
My love of Japan all started when I bought my first copy of Fruits magazine in 2000. I was still at high school and I became obsessed with the crazy looks on the kids of Harajuku and I started to take my own street fashion photographs. I finally went over to Japan on a holiday in 2004 and absolutly fell in love with the country, vowing to move there as soon as I could. In 2006 that dream came true and I moved to Tokyo to teach English and get to know the fashion scene. I ended up becoming best friends with a girl from that very first issue of Fruits magazine I bought without realising it until I got back to Australia and looked through the old mag.
On her website, A Fluffy Blog, style blogger Eline describes herself as “a 21-year-old colour-obsessed illustration student” who worships “cats and meaningless fluff.” Her daily outfit posts, usually consisting of lots of vintage and DIY, are an explosion of all that is colorful, fuzzy, and upbeat, interspersed with her own intelligent musings on clothing (and the occasional requisite cat pictures).
What did you dress like as a girl? Were you always so into bright colours?
As a little girl my mother used to dress me up in an abundance of all sorts of brands and designers because we had the money and my parents loved living the good life in every aspect, I guess. They were very close to what I wear now, actually! Bright coloured dresses with poofy skirts and all sorts of quirky prints and stuff attached. I especially remembered this one Prussian blue dress with tiny mirrors attached! I also still have a hat that has a complete country scene on it, with trees with apples and fields with carrots all 3D sewed into the scene. It’s amazing!
I wasn’t always this into bright colours but I’ve always been extremely interested in the effect of colours and most of all contrast colours (red-green, orange-blue, yellow-purple). I remember suddenly realizing I could easily implement this in my wardrobe and got so excited about the red vs green combo I wore it for over a year. In the end I got sick of that and started experimenting with other contrast colours as well as other kinds of colours vs colour. And now I’ve ended up as this jumbled up rainbow mix of colours.
Do you find people tend to be more creative with their outfits at an arts school? Does what you wear stand out?
I think people in an arts school are very focused on aesthetics and so it’s unsurprising that most end up outing this in their wardrobe as well. Strangely back in my arts high school when you did this you were kind of seen as a traitor because people were still under the delusion that an artist doesn’t care for material possessions, and especially not such a commercially influenced thing as fashion! Teenagers! Now, pretty much everyone cares for it, whether they’re dressed in rags or not, most of them are making a fashion statement in my mind.
Not everyone gets equally creative but there are certainly a lot more people than in other schools. There are probably only a handful that really stand out though and yeah, I guess I’m one of them seeing as I often get recognized outside of school when people are drunk and come up to me asking me to touch my hair, haha.