Higher Learning Week: Why We Should All Want To Be Tavi When We Grow Up

Some people don’t need a last name, and Tavi Gevinson is one of them. While Tavi doesn’t technically fall within our demographic of coverage — she is 15 years old, after all — it’s hard to ignore this girl, or rather young woman, who is both founder and CEO of Rookie, a full blown online magazine that launched this week. Considering her blog, The Style Rookie, is where Tavi made her first appearance in the Internet world, it was only fitting that Rookie would launch just days before Fashion Week. Oh, and did we mention that Jane Pratt is on her staff? How many CEOs can say that? Just Tavi.

For a long time there was a hole in the teenage girl magazine circuit. After Pratt said adieu when the iconic Sassy magazine was taken over (read: destroyed) in 1995, there was no other magazine that catered to the ‘other’ kind of teenage girls. I would use the word ‘alternative’ that was so prevalent in the 1990s but, as one who fell into that ‘other’ category, I would feel like I would be doing an injustice to every like-minded teenage girl I knew then and exists today with the same mentality. The fact of the matter is there are those who want to be cheerleaders and date the captain of the football team and there are those who, to quote Tavi’s ‘about’ section on The Style Rookie:

Wears batman capes and oversized hats. Scatters black petals on Rei Kawakubo’s doorsteps and serenades her in rap. I wish I was Daria but I get too excited about things like candy to be deadpan all the time.

The time for such a magazine has been long overdue, and if anyone is going to live up to the stature and standard that Sassy set, it’s probably Tavi. Rookie is comprised of a staff of over 30 women, who are based all over the world, that range in age from in their teens to their 40s. Each one is steeped in talent and brings not only their vision but their personality to the site. There’s also the one token fella, who happens to be a Brooklyn boy, to boot. And as proof that Pratt is still more than relevant and is part of the inspiration behind it all, she is listed as the ‘fairy godmother’ of Rookie. It may be Tavi’s party now, but Pratt sent out those invitations long ago.

While I won’t get into detail about Rookie or gush about how Tavi is an old soul or how reading the site literally transports you back to the 1990′s with their puns and pop culture references that I can’t help but wonder if many 15-year-olds today would get, because Jamie Peck did a fine job of covering all that for The Gloss yesterday, I will say this: Tavi is bound to be one of the most important contributors and innovators of her generation. Her site is more than fashion, art, music or the difficult intricacies of being a teenage girl (think the Virgin Suicides here): it’s intellectual, feminist and fearless. In a world of so many magazines telling young women what to do to “get a guy to like them,” Tavi is a bold candle in a dark hallway that won’t be blown out by just any ordinary gust of wind.

To quote The GlossJennifer Wright:  “I genuinely believe that one day Tavi will be the editor of Vogue.” And as we’ve seen in past She Said/She Said debates, Jennifer is never wrong.

Simply, Tavi is the type of CEO that doesn’t come around often, not just because of her age, but because of her unique voice and prolific insight. Yes, I just called a 15-year-old ‘prolific.’ You don’t have to agree with me; we can debate it out over My So-Called Life references while Hole plays in the background. Tavi would approve.


Image via The Style Rookie

You can reach this post's author, Amanda Chatel, on twitter.
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