Friday, July 25, 2008

Tavi the Style Rookie - she might not have legs, but the story sure does

style rookie

Judging by the traffic overnight (and notably from the US) there was a huge amount of interest in the story of fashion blogger extraordinaire Tavi - the author of Style Rookie - who describes herself as “a vertically challenged 12 year old that could fit inside your purse". The mainstream media appears to be asleep at the wheel, however the internet exploded overnight. And given the outpouring from those who say they either know Tavi, or have met her, it seems there's a chance that this story might not revolve around a clever marketing stunt after all, but rather, one clever kid.

style rookie

Much of the online reaction appears to have been in protest to New York mag journalist Jessica Coen who broke the Tavi story on the magazine's blog The Cut on Tuesday. That's in the mainstream news arena sense.

The Tavi story had been bubbling along in the blogosphere for three months - as it emerges, ever since a 16 year-old blogger by the name of Stephanie, aka Fashion Robot, first photographed her younger sister and bunch of her sister's friends - including a then unnamed Tavi - playing dressups.

Fashion Robot published a photospread of the session on March 22nd. Many commenters swooned over the style of "the little blonde girl".

On April 16th, Fashion Robot revealed that "the little blonde girl" had her own blog.

Subsequent blogs to pick the story up include Style Nova and Fashion Pirates.

On Tuesday NY mag's Jessica Coen simply asked a few questions as to Tavi's bona fides – as indeed any journalist should have done in these circumstances.

It was Coen’s snippy tone which seems to have been the problem.

Coen had written:
“So what sets Tavi apart from all those other bloggers no one cares about? If it weren't enough that she calls out Snoop "Doggy Dog" in the same paragraph that she drops "Margiela DIY," she's "wanting" a "fringed vest" and "listening" to Feist. Her blog is full of pictures of her in trendy duds, like high-waisted pants and mixed floral pieces. She writes about what she wore to her friend Claire's birthday party, thrifting, and Australian Vogue”.

I must admit I missed the Australian Vogue reference yesterday.

Here's a small sample of the many hostile comments posted on The Cut overnight.

Noted one commenter:
“So Tavi happens to be several times cooler than you where when you were her age(12!), get over it!”

And another:
“I'd rather see a thousand and ten Tavis out there than the Ho-llister and Abercrappy and Bitch clanned teens we are forced to see every day. I'm 13, and I have a blog, and mine doesn't deserve half the support that Tavi's does”.

Yet another:
“i am 12 and i have a fashion blog, big whoop. what is it to you? Tavi is my friend, and why doesn't it matter if she has good style. it not her fault that you don't. here, read my blog, i am real and i am real pissed. why can't a 12 year old have good style?”

style rookie

As for the blogosphere, well, it went into overdrive.

This is from a blog called White Lightning:

“let me say this, nymag and all random haters take note: miss tavi, the style rookie, is real. and basically awesomer than most of us. we had lunch. she got to see what a magazine office is like. we discussed the cdg/lv bags. someone in the elevator thought she was MY DAUGHTER (yeah, that has neverrr happened to me before. especially since i still get carded at rated R movies. but i would adopt her in a sec so WHATEVS.). as soon she's old enough i'd welcome her to be the star intern in our office. and then she'll steal all of our jobs”.

Catwalk Queen wrote:
“Why is the New York magazine ragging on Tavi? I think Tavi 'deserves' an 'apology'"!

Catwalk Queen has also created a special T-shirt in the Tavster's honour:

catwalk queen

Teen Vogue – which quite possibly had never heard of Tavi prior to Tuesday - nevertheless claimed the story as their own, and Tavi as “One of our absolute favorite fashion bloggers” and a “12-year-old prodigy”.

Together with the headline:

style rookie

As for Tavi well, there's still no sign of her on the blog.

Her signoff post however now has 62 comments – all of them telling her, words to the effect, "You go girl!".

And frockwriter has a feeling that, forming a queue behind Tavi's perplexed parents and the child welfare authorities, may well be a swag of literary agents, publishers and the Nickelodeon and Disney networks, all waving six figure contracts.

According to Tavi's mate Stephanie aka Fashion Robot, Tavi is doing fine.

Writes Stephanie today:

“...she's a bit freaked out by this whole thing.... Don't worry guys - I spoke to Tavi and she'll be back to the blog in a few days!“


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