Tavi Gevinson (Style Rookie) has recently written a great post describing her disenchantment with the fashion industry. For those who don't know, Tavi is the epitome of fashion blogger success - she's sat front row at fashion weeks, collaborated with Rodarte, interviewed John Galliano in Paris, written for Harper's Bazaar etc. - and she's only 14 years old. She also said her blog will be focusing less on fashion in the future.
Fashion Week is weird. It is very high schooly. Someone will take that and decide that it means Fashion Week highschooliness is getting me down hard without realizing how highschooly what they're doing is. I love fashion but it's disappointing when you have to sift through a lot of junk before you get to, like, the clothes, and the whole point of it all. It's more disappointing when the clothes aren't very interesting. Lately I've been looking to other places for a creative outlet and for inspiration. I miss following magazines and obsessively checking style.com the way I used to but something is different about it now. A year ago I got to go to Paris to interview John Galliano at Dior, and a couple weeks ago today he said he loved Hitler and got fired.
I think I've been following Tavi's blog since I knew fashion blogs existed. She's a brilliant writer with an approach to fashion that's completely different from what you'd expect (in general, not just from a 14-year-old) and she has personality in spades, so her blog always has that flair and uniqueness drawing you in.
Reading her post made me feel a little sad she's experiencing disappointment with fashion at such a young age. Then again, maybe she's experiencing (and voicing) it precisely because of her young age. You know how we're all very perceptive, honest and unrestrained when we're younger, and then "growing up" also means you learn to sometimes pretend you don't care or omit truths or keep doing something without noticing it doesn't fulfill you in any way? You learn the new rules and you also figure out people don't want you to be honest and unrestrained. If you stay that way, it's a kind of luxury. In that sense, I'm glad Tavi is going strong.
I wanted to be mature and witty and polite and strike up a conversation with Anna Wintour, I really did. But like, it was the end of the day? And I was exhausted, in so many ways? And not prepared to enter a room as the last one to be seated and find out two seconds before sitting next to Anna Wintour that I was sitting next to Anna Wintour? And I was wearing the sweater Kathleen Hanna gave me and felt kind of in the middle of an overdramatic identity crisis, like I had no right to wear the sweater OR sit next to Anna Wintour? And when I did look around a bit, no one looked happy and it was kind of a huge downer? So I let myself be kind of shy and quiet that night, to join the rows of sullen-faced people who looked as though they secretly wanted to be at home with their pets wearing comfortable clothing and eating fattening food.
Of course, fashion industry is not the only industry where people will be aloof and disinterested. People like that are everywhere. Ideally, you shouldn't let them get to you, but I know this is easier said than done. It's discouraging to see someone with your dream job and opportunities acting like they don't give a damn when you'd be over the moon if you were in their shoes. However, there are also really fantastic people working in the fashion industry, so maybe in the end it all evens out?
At Milan Fashion Week in February I realized that after a long time I felt like I belonged somewhere again. I went to Milan and Paris because after having decided I'd work in fashion, I wanted to see if fashion week is the kind of environment I'd be comfortable in (I know fashion week is just the tip of the iceberg, but sadly, as much as I'd love to, I can't hang around Vogue offices or designer studios ... It was the opportunity I could seize!). I was testing the waters because I'm sensitive like Tavi in the way that the things she found disappointing in the fashion industry would get me down as well.
I noticed how very few people looked happy to be there, the frenzy to be seen and photographed, the intimidation. It didn't bother me, though. Maybe because in the past few months I've finally been feeling content with myself, my achievements and relationships so I don't get so wrapped up in false insecurities any more. Yet maybe it was because I don't have as much fashion mileage as Tavi and I'm still too far away from "having seen it all" for it to leave a negative impression on me. You never know.
Here's a little secret: I belong in fashion, but I don't really see myself as a "fashion person". I think it's overrated because to be a credible "fashion person" nowadays means there must be extreme buzz surrounding you all the time. This is something I really dislike in fashion today: the cult of personality. The obsession with who wore what, who sat first row, who appeared on which blog, who knows who, who is "important". Give me a break! Fashion should revolve around fashion, not hype.
Ironically, there's a 99,99% chance Tavi wouldn't have achieved what she did - at least not in such a short time - without the very same "flawed" fashion industry. Because you see, there are also good sides to it, the most notable one being that (some) young people with a genuine interest in fashion and creativity get recognition easier via blogs.
Tavi is an exceptionally talented person who will most likely be successful at everything she chooses to do. At 14, the most normal thing is to change interests; I'm looking forward to see where they take her in the future.