September 2 2014

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Exclusive: Rodarte, Tavi, And Target Team Up On Video


Teenage blogging sensation Tavi Gevinson made the scene during New York fashion week back in September, hitting the hottest shows (Alexander Wang) and the most happening fêtes (Larry Gagosian’s townhouse party). But as far as we know, only Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy put the 13-year-old to work. The results of their collaboration, a video project promoting the designers’ Target collection that took them from the Gagosian Gallery (where Elijah Wood tells Tavi, “You sort of have a Mia Farrow thing going on”) to the North Dakota prairies, is premiering exclusively online here at Before you hit Target on December 20 to shop the collection (FYI: Tavi’s faves are a lace cardi in a “sixties mustard color” and a Bonnie and Clyde-inspired “kind of mohair-ish” vest), read our Q&A and watch this clip.

What attracts you to Tavi and why did you want her to be a part of this video?

Kate and Laura: She is a mix between J.D. Salinger, Dorothy Parker, and Cindy Sherman. Our favorite combination!

What was it like meeting the Mulleavy sisters for the first time?

Tavi: I was nervous because I had been a great admirer of Rodarte for a long time. But they were really relaxed and down-to-earth and had so many interesting things to say. I remember when we went to the Olvera Street market I picked up a pack of Mexican bingo cards and they couldn’t believe I didn’t already own any.

Is Tavi the person different from her online persona? If so, how?

Kate: When spending time with Tavi, I am always astonished by her observations. Tavi is a writer in every sense. Her way of interacting with the world comes from a sensitivity and madness that belongs to poets and bank robbers.

What was the collaboration process on this video like? And what did you learn from it?

Tavi: I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I think you can tell—or it’s very noticeable to me, at least—how in the videos I first shot my voice is slightly shaky. But again, Kate and Laura are very relaxed and really wanted to make it fun, and it was. I took away from it more of an idea of what goes on at a photo shoot or editors’ preview—not just the process but the thoughts behind it and how people with different styles or visions can collaborate or enjoy the same things. It was interesting to see how editors with such individual tastes could interpret the pieces differently but still all enjoy them.

I also never realized how important attention to detail is, but Laura and Kate and Autumn [de Wilde] and everyone made sure they were confident in every decision concerning the shoots. That’s when you know people are really passionate about something.

Any funny anecdotes about the collaboration?

Kate: Tavi’s mother sang us all a Norwegian lullaby one night on the way to visit an old Czech church that was kept open for us to see under the stars while we were in North Dakota.

What was it like working on the collection for Target?

Kate: Working on the Target line allowed Laura and me to stretch the breadth of our work, while, at the same time, staying true to our aesthetic sensibility.

If you could have every piece of the Rodarte for Target collection or just one piece from Rodarte’s Spring 2010 collection, which would you choose?

Tavi: This is hard…but proooobably Spring 2010 because I can afford the Target line! I think I would pick look 19…It combines many of my favorite visual components of the collection and the burnt fabrics are so delicate-looking. I just want you to know I spent a long time laboring over this decision and had to write down a lot of stuff to figure it out. Never ask me such a question again.

Any predictions on which Rodarte for Target piece will be the most wanted by shoppers?

Tavi: I’m thinking one of the ballerina slip-shoulder bow dresses. The silhouette is like a Rodarte staple and I love the idea of clouding a slip with tulle. Either that or the leopard-print dress. It’s painted lace, has three bows on the back, and has such character to it.

What would you like to see Rodarte do next?

Tavi: It would be really cool if they started their own planet or something, but realistically speaking, a book club or Mexican bingo night would be cool, too. Really though, I just want them to continue to be inspired because so far only good things have come out of that.



  1. ToucanBoutique says:

    If the only way we can get inspired, not jaded, honest and fresh reporting on fashion is to have a 13 year-old do it, then I’m all for Tavi being at all the shows. She’s lovely and articulate and maybe if her parents are around, she won’t be distracted by the drugs and rock n’roll side of fashion by the time she’s 15.

  2. savvymojo says:

    I’m not a Tavi fan. She seems smart enough to know that her popularity is due to her age – I doubt her blog would be such a hit if she were just another twenty-something style blogger. Being a tiny 13 year old has helped launch her, and she’s getting a lot of help from people like the Mulleavy sisters taking her under their wing. I just hope she proves herself worthy of the gigantic advantage she is getting over every other fashionista who wants to break into the industry. She’s getting a big headstart and has her iconic cultural references down, but I’m yet to be convinced that she has a worthwhile insight on fashion. I read a few dozen style blogs but thus far hers doesn’t interest me enough to bookmark.

  3. AdrienMichelle says:

    Tavi is fantastic, so incredibly informed and articulate. I think she gives the fashion world so much to gain from her insight and fresh perspective.

  4. jessiekthompson says:

    Tavi, you’re sweet.

  5. Ikenani says:

    Tavi better make the most of 15 min right now. Two words – Gary. Coleman.

  6. jrseguin says:

    Tavi’s a good sales girl. I wasn’t initially sold on Rodarte for Target…You know big name designers dumbing down their regular lines for the masses to a point of Old Navy sensibility (yawn!). This video gives the collection a fresh look, let’s hope it looks as fresh on the racks. XO JS

  7. tealiss says:

    i’ll have to agree with savvymojo on that entire post. although i do have her saved under my bloglovin account, i find myself skimming her posts.

    her writing style has changed a lot since she started. she used to be really down to earth and humble. now she’s kind of turned into another jane aldridge – omg look at what i get to do! i’m going here i’m going there look i got expensive clothes given to me. it’s becoming rather… annoying.

  8. stephanief says:

    The comment from “savvymojo” sounds like everything that came out of the mouths of all the guys in one of my journalism classes the other day. Yes, we had a very heated debate about Tavi and the impact she’s been having lately as a “journalist,” and whether or not she is, in fact, a journalist.

    True – her age definitely adds to what she’s doing, but only because she’s so different from most 13-year-olds I’ve ever known. But how many style bloggers in general, of any age, write the way she does and share every source of their imagination and inspiration with such an open attitude?

    She doesn’t care what anyone thinks – and not in that “I only say I don’t care because I actually really do care so much” kind of way. And I say ‘all the power to her’ for that.

  9. LeahreTard says:

    I think she is just wonderful.
    Ofcourse her writing has changed she’s growing up we all change.
    It’s so charming to reaed a 13 year olds blog and feel like you are learning something everyday, I read every single one of her posts in a week I am a little bit obsessed with her, but she’s an insperation!

  10. olliecrafoord says:

    I think Tavi is a “practically normal” 13 year old of the years 2000.

    Style bloggers are mostly boring. The thing she’s got to make her interesting and fresh is her age and her knowledge (which she continues to get more of because so many are impressed with her age!). Most style bloggers are “here’s a lot of photos from about this collection, it’s good or bad, what’s next?” and that’s not even worth a read any more.

    Tavi actually goes somewhere and makes impressions.

    I think she blogs like a normal teen and it was luck that someone decided she was interesting enough to promote her so much. She’s interesting but so are many other bloggers. And I do see that she’s slowly losing herself a bit. Perhaps all that attention is causing her blog to feel more like a job?

  11. tealiss says:

    she’s “going places” and showing more interesting stuff on her blog because people are giving her handouts. the rodarte sisters, her invitations to fashion week, trips to tokyo, free comme de garcons, etc. without this her topics would still be about how she got all this neat stuff at the thrift store.

    people are trying to mold her at a young age. that’s her appeal, and that’s why she’s getting all of this stuff. i just don’t really know how to explain it.

    and really, if she thinks this is becoming her “job” then she has definitely lost herself. what a selfish thing to become.

  12. NickCLondon says:

    I mean, I like her. She’s nerdy and young and cute and wears cool threads. But this is ridiculous. She’s 13 and talking about Harold and Maude and Bonnie and Clyde as if they’re films that she knows about. Harold and Maude! A film about a guy who goes to funerals for fun and acts out fake suicides and then falls in love with an 80 year old woman. And the reason we’re listening to a 13 year old girl reference these films is because of marketing people at Target. Whaaaaat? I’m not cussing her, this is NOT HER FAULT. I’m cussing all the idiots who’ve said “let’s take this child and abuse her (but in a really cute fun way) so we can sell tons of clothes”.

    I can just imagine the meetings that all the marketing folk at Target had about getting her to do the video but how they must make it look lo-fi because that’s what all the kids see on YouTube. And when they viewed the footage and briefed the editor – “oh – use the shaky shots so that people think that she made it all on her own and sat up one night in her bedroom editing it”.

    And shamefully, the bits they have of her speaking actually make her sound kinda stupid, which sucks. “Take out the eloquence… Make her sound fashiony like us…”

    Now, I can deal with fashion people talking fashion BS – And it’s funny when they say stupid stuff as you can say “Hahahaha… I mean the clothes are cool but what did they just say in that interview about their inspiration? Hahahaha!.” It’s funny to us because everyone knows they should really know better, but they still talk like that regardless.

    But when you encourage a child beyond liking clothes and writing a cool blog about them, to the extent that said child begins to adopt your adult references and language because they look up to you and copy what you say, then that is when it starts to get messed up.

    That’s when the child starts to say things like:

    “I think real style is just being unique and taking inspiration and the clothes from all different kinds of places”.

    Erm… What does that sentence even mean? “Hey kid… Remember all that eloquence you started off with… Yeah… It’s gone I’m afraid. You’re talking like us now… You’re one of the idiots like us now cos we took you away from having an interesting unique 13 year old voice and took you to a load of dumb-ass fashion shows. Ooooooops… Sooooowwwwwwwy!”

    Puppies are really cute man. But then they get a bit bigger and people are like, “oh there’s a dog – and look, it was brought up really badly so now it’s kind of a pain in the ass and barks all the time – Get it out of my house it’s chewing up my stuff.”

    I feel bad for her. They should leave her alone. They should let her be creative with her style because she’s a kid and doesn’t think twice about taking a pair of scissors to her mum’s old dress and sewing it to a scarf she bought in a thrift store for a dollar. And then people can enjoy reading about it in her blog – Opposed to watching her sell clothes for Target.

    The only thing she really has in common with Target is that the Chinese kids who make their clothes are also 13 years old.

  13. psitcov says:

    Maybe we are taking Tavi’s blog a little too seriously? I think her blog is great and a fun read. One of the reasons I was first attracted to her site is because her interests are so focused at such a young age. Also, I love how curious and excited she gets when she discovers new things. Its like that Picasso quote: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist. This is maybe why some designers really like her- she has a fresh eye. Maybe the general frustration people are talking about in this comment section has less to do with Tavi and more to do with how blogs are evolving. Its pretty clear that successful fashion blogs now share the role of magazines: a forum for advertising products. But as long as we understand that, so what?

  14. oscarswilde says:

    tavi is a force to be reckoned with and THAT’S the point of life on earth. to have a life worth being witnessed. the people who don’t like her are coming from a place of jealousy and provinciality; i guarantee they are in their 20′s, 30′s+, feeling driftless, like life is passing them by, obfuscated that they haven’t figured out how to get people to pay attention to them. any one worth inviting to your slumber party would be inspired by tavi, her drive, and her fearlessness…

  15. oscarswilde says:

    wow! sister tealiss…i just read your comment: “if she thinks this is becoming her job then she had definitely lost herself. what a selfish thing to become.”

    so she created a position for herself in life that is unique, inspiring, and informed. and lucrative.

    what are you doing with your life?

  16. ms_syd says:

    no wonder a 13 year old is the photographer, it is the kind of clothes that would appeal to a 13 year old. And where do they get the money to dress like that

  17. chichinque says:

    tavi has a mind of a 13 year old. lets face it she’s nothing special. all children have a boundless imagination and a curious minds. adults just forget how creative they were when they were young and didn’t have to worry about putting food on the table or a roof over your head. i don’t have a problem with tavi, just the idea that she is some sort of fashion genius turned fashion insider. the fashion community shows how shallow they are by adopting her as their poster-child of the moment. tavi has really obvious and bombastic taste- typical of a tween. design encompasses subtle qualities that tavi is not in tuned with. moving on to rodarte, anyone who has been paying attention to fashion for the last 10 years would realize that rodarte isn’t making anything special. every collection is a mash-up of other collections from real designers, such as nicolas ghesquiere, olivier theyskens, jun takahashi, junya watanabe, helmut lang, raf simons, and rei kawakubo to name a few. what they do is not real design, its cutting and pasting. it goes beyond inspiration towards outright plagiarism. the worst part about it is that they purport that their ideas are genuine and their own. and to make it worse, the fashion establishment has condoned this ethic and heralded them as innovators. there is nothing wrong with tavi and rodarte. they should feel free to express themselves in the way that they want. the problem is with the fashion establishment championing these people and elevating the legitimacy of their work in an arena that far surpasses their capabilities. with years of fashion and design history, they should know the difference between good and bad, sensational and banal. not everything new is good. not everything different is beautiful.

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