Teen fashion blogger branches out with book.
Tavi Gevinson has accomplished more in her 16 years than most people double her age.
The style blogger, writer and darling of the fashion set launched a fashion blog from her suburban Chicago home before she turned 12. Two years later it was getting 50,000 hits a day and she was a fixture in the front row of fashion shows in New York, Paris and Tokyo.
Profiles of the young fashionista followed in the New York Times and the New Yorker, along with stories in French Vogue and in teen magazines.
Gevinson has added editor to her credits with the publication of Rookie Yearbook One, a compilation of articles, photographs and drawings from her Rookie Web site, which she started about 15 months ago.
“I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do a print component. Each month on the site is a different theme. I eventually realized that to do a yearly book, and call it a yearbook, would be the best format,” she said.
The second book, due next September, is already in the works.
Despite its young audience, the yearbook claims it is not a guide to being a teenager. But with topics ranging from family, friends, relationships, to fashion and school its appeal is obvious.
And Gevinson admits she started the Web site, which focuses less on fashion and more on teen life, because there wasn’t an online magazine for adolescent girls that respected its readers’ intelligence.
“I decided to make a Web site and now a book that didn’t talk down to teenagers and had beautiful art, fine articles about TV and all of that.”
With more than 300 pages, 80 contributors, and articles ranging from “How to Bitchface” to “Breakup Breakdown” and “How to Approach the Person You Like Without Throwing Up,” the book navigates teenage angst and a range of other topics and includes photos and graphics.
“Rookie is a place to make the best of the beautiful pain and cringe-worthy awkwardness of being an adolescent girl,” is how Gevinson described it.
It has also attracted some star power, namely online interviews with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm giving advice about love and guys, and wise words from actor Paul Rudd and producer/director Judd Apatow.
When Gevinson started her blog at 11 she saw it as an outlet that helped her get through middle school. She never expected it to mushroom into a Web site and the business it is today with a huge fan base.
The youngest of three children, Gevinson recently completed a tour to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto and other cities to promote the book and still manages to keep up with her school work.
Her father, a retired English teacher, oversees the business side of Rookie, and there is a staff of paid adult editors, photographers and designers who work on the Web site and manage its contributors.
Despite it all, Gevinson seems unfazed by her success and the celebrity status that has come with it.
“I’ve enjoyed feeling I make something and people understand it, and that there are other people going through the things that I go through,” she said. “That to me is the most valuable thing — being heard by people who understand it.”