Launch parties / Literature

Tavi Gevinson Inspires Feminists and Fashionistas at Book Signing

Fasion blogger Tavi Gevinson at Yorkdale mall book signing.

Photography by Shannon Clarke

Article by Shannon Clarke

Ajax teens Sofia Cardone and Arielle Mantes have been waiting three hours to meet American blogger Tavi Gevinson, passing the time by wandering Yorkdale mall, where she’d soon make her appearance.

“She’s original, and different, and inspiring. I think the way she sees things is really interesting,” says Cardone, a recent reader of Gevinson’s online magazine, Rookie.

Their waiting pays off. When Gevinson arrives and takes a seat on stage, she looks right at Cardone and Mantes sitting in the front row and says: “Oh my god you’re wearing the crowns from my book! That’s so cool!”

And when the fashion phenom begins signing copies of her book Rookie: Yearbook One, they are first in line.

Gevinson signs copies of Rookie

Although the audience of young women is well dressed and fashion-forward (there are a lot of tights, combat boots, wool sweaters and bright red lips in attendance) the draw to Gevinson and anticipation for Rookie is about much more than style.

At 16, Gevinson is an icon in the fashion industry, and an inspiration to millions of women and bloggers. She began writing about fashion and documenting her own style adventures when she was only 13 on her blog, The Style Rookie. It made fans out of designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, and Gevinson was flown to New York for Fashion Week.

Canadians may have caught their first glimpse of the teenager, then barely out of grade school, on the late Fashion Television, speaking to designers like Karl Lagerfeld with all the knowledge and confidence of a seasoned pro.

She exhibited that same confidence at her reading on Saturday. Now well into high school, Coke-bottle glasses gone, Gevinson is promoting a collection of some of the content on her online magazine, Rookie.  The 300-page book came together in just a few months with the help of Montreal publishing house Drawn and Quarterly.

“We got a call from Drawn and Quarterly in May and the fact that [the book] came together in time for September is really amazing and a credit to how much they believed in us,” says Gevinson.

The anthology has appeal for even the least style-conscious women.  In fact, aside from the stunning photo essays (which feature girls of all shapes, sizes, and races), Rookie has little to deter those who insist their style is no style at all.

There are musings on the first years of high school, identity, body image, feminism, and some entertaining “How To” pieces, like How To Do A Bitchface, which Gevinson demonstrated on Jimmy Kimmel Live in September and again for the crowd this weekend.

The Q&A Panel featuring (from left to right), a Drawn and Quarterly representative, Rookie bloggers Petra Collins, Anna Fitzpatrick, Hannah Johnson and Tavi Gevinson

“This is really mean!” she says, halfway through her demonstration. “I wrote this at a very bad sophomore-year-place in my life. I use these much more rarely now, I promise.”

Between pages of the book are stickers, handwritten playlists, and a 7” flexidisc.

The writing comes from readers, regular contributors and some celebrity guests including Lena Dunham and Sarah Silverman. Gevinson also includes interviews with writer David Sedaris and actress Aubrey Plaza (among others).

What makes Rookie special, and why Gevinson has garnered such mass appeal, is because the content of her online magazine and Rookie: Yearbook One flies in the face of those who think teenagers (and especially teenage girls, so often blamed for the degredation of the English language and the vapidity of pop music) have nothing smart to say.

“There’s not a lot of feminists that I know who are my age, so for them to be sticking up for women’s rights means a lot to me,” says Alicia Lapena-Barry, 15. After the reading she is heading to the Magic Pony on Queen Street W. for a Rookie costume party.

“I just thought it was a good opportunity to meet some of my inspirations, some people I really love and look up to,” she says.

Gevinson embraces the feminist label, but said in an interview with the Toronto Star she understands why some people don’t.

“I think they shy away from feminism because it starts to seem like a rule book,” she told the newspaper.

Gevinson isn’t old enough to vote, but she has been following the election and encourages young women who can cast a ballot to do so. I asked Gevinson about a PSA in which she appeared alongside dozens of famous faces including Tracee Ellis Ross and Mae Whitman. In it, they sing along to Lesley Gore’s  You Don’t Own Me, a response to Romney’s anti-woman platform.

“We got talking about how scary it is, all of this stuff about legitimate rape and Mitt Romney going back and forth all the time on his policies about women, and we wanted to do something creative together,” she said. “I hope it worked.”

Fans at Gevinson’s book signing

She and the Rookie staff are hopeful they will one day persuade President Obama to participate in an “Ask A Grown Man” segment on the blog. The segment, which has already featured Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, has famous men answer feminist questions.

Alongside photographer Petra Collins and writers Anna Fitzpatrick and Hannah Johnson (all Toronto-based), Gevinson took questions from an initially timid crowd (though it’s possible they were still star struck after Gevinson’s reading), including one on how she manages to run a successful blog, promote a book, travel, and attend high school.

“I don’t procrastinate,” she said, adding: “I feel more stressed when I’m not doing something than when I am.”

It’s easy to forget that young celebrities are in many ways just like their teenage fan base, but, surprisingly, in person, Gevinson seems like your ordinary high school student. She sits at the end of the front row while Fitzpatrick is reading, smiling happily like her fans did when she was reading. While they listen intently to Fitzpatrick’s adventures among the high school misfits, the audience (particularly those just an arms length away from their teenaged idol) sneak excited glances her way. And when Hannah Johnson creeps in during Fitzpatrick’s reading, Gevinson smiles widely, and they throw their arms around each other, the way you do when a friend sneaks in beside you during lecture or a high school assembly.

Though her name is the only one the appears on the promotional posters around the store, though hers is the only one most think of when they think of Rookie, Gevinson is adamant about reader involvement, and about the site being a community rather than her own space.

“We do say ‘be critical and question everything’ but we don’t want to say we’re the exception.”

Copies of Tavi Gevinson’s books, Rookie: Yearbook One

Another Rookie plus is that the fashion and style components are accessible. While Gwenyth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter has drawn the ire of readers to whom $90 for a white T-shirt isn’t practical, Rookie includes tips on how to thrift shop and zero designer suggestions.

When asked what her style tip is, Gevinson pauses before saying, simply: “Wear what you want.”

Whether you buy the book or read the blog, are in high school or left those halls years ago, Rookie has something to offer anyone looking for feminism, art, music, style, and an honest perspective on being “young and alive” in 2012. M

Advertisements

52 thoughts on “Tavi Gevinson Inspires Feminists and Fashionistas at Book Signing

  1. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession
    capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently
    quickly.

  2. Hey there this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  3. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog.

    I’m hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own website now 😉

  4. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about
    this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that
    you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit,
    but other than that, this is Amazing blog. A fantastic read.
    I’ll certainly be back.

  5. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

  6. With havin so much written content do you ever run into
    any problems of plagorism or copyright violation?

    My website has a lot of unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help protect against content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

  7. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own web-site and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a
    pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% sure. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  8. Simply desire to say your article is as amazing.
    The clearness to your article is simply nice and i could think you’re an expert on this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to clutch your feed to keep up to date with imminent post. Thank you a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  9. of course like your web-site but you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your
    posts. Many of them are rife with spelling
    problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth then again I will certainly come
    again again.

  10. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch because I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your web page.

  11. I love your blog.. very nice colours & theme.

    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone
    to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thank you

  12. Someone necessarily lend a hand to make critically articles I might
    state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus far?
    I amazed with the research you made to make this actual submission incredible.
    Wonderful process!

  13. Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring
    on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same subjects you
    discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my readers would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  14. Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to
    try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me.
    Thank you, quite great article.

  15. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog
    has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either authored
    myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help protect against content from
    being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  16. Generally I do not learn article on blogs, but
    I wish to say that this write-up very forced me
    to check out and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me.
    Thank you, very nice article.

  17. Alveo
    Hello just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few
    of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a
    linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both
    show the same results.

  18. However, an experienced professional will know how to position their models or client in his photos to achieve the desired image.
    SEO Shiksha gives one of the ideal Linked – In, twitter, and.
    You can compare the courses and training offered by
    these institutes and also read testimonials from previous participates who have taken training.

  19. These fountains may also serve as the focal point
    of the room. Nowadays, metal mosaic is the most preferred choice to decorate your
    living room and bathroom. Parlour Palms are easy to maintain and add a bohemian tinge.
    If you think of investing a good amount of money, you would have an interest to turn to a professional.

    She showed exceptional talent in interior designs with classical details such
    as a dentil cornice and fluted door casings being added to the plastered wall and plank ceilings of the residence.

  20. Thank you for some other excellent article. The place else
    may just anyone get that type of information in such a perfect way of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at
    the look for such info.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s