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Photo by Angela Y. Martin

Talking Tavi

Dazed sits down with the teenage fashion blogger to discuss boyfriends, magazines and her talk at Toronto's ideaCity...

Tavi Gevinson isn’t a 13-year-old fashion-blogging prodigy anymore. She’s a 14-year-old fashion-blogging prodigy, so go feel a little less bad about yourself, alright? And with a new age comes a new dream, a new year’s revolution: Sassy 2.0. The original mag was a smart, awesomely styled, take-no-prissiness anti-glossy for alt-girls. It was also dead before Ms. Style Rookie was alive. But all things cultish and fashionable come ‘round again and, thanks in no small part to Gevinson herself, Sassy nostalgia is at an all-time high. Teen girls need an alternative. Tavi is already their heroine. Plus, it’s summer vacation, so she probably doesn’t have anything better to do than go ahead and publish the answer to her whole gender-slash-generation’s hopes and prayers. Like, why not? Gevinson was in Toronto last week to speak at ideaCity, a high-minded annual conference for grown-ups pretending not to be boring, about the Sassy attitude and how to bring it back. Of course, Dazed couldn’t help but ask: will her reimagining become reality already? Will she end the blogger-editor battle by being... both? And who’d she put on the first cover? Answers below.

Dazed Digital: What’s your big ideaCity talk about?
Tavi: It’s basically about what Sassy magazine would look like today. Because there aren’t any counter cultures, so what would make it subversive?

DD: And what is that?
Tavi: It would be subversive not by latching onto a subversive band or clothing style, because those, you know, there isn’t any counter culture. It would be subversive just in that it would be honest and tell teenage girls that, like, our opinions matter and to be ourselves and stuff. Other magazines, I feel, don’t succeed in doing that. There’s insincerity.

DD: Honesty is the most difficulty policy, no? With mainstream magazines so dependent on their advertisers, it’s hard to tell what is an editor’s opinion and what has been bought.
Tavi: If I tried to start this, which I might, then I think I would do it independently, because it would be so much easier.

DD: Would you have advertisers?
Tavi: We’d have advertisers but it wouldn’t be through a publishing company. We’d have very few advertisers, but they’d know they would be really valued, because they wouldn’t be next to a crappy ad for, like, a hair straightener. We’ll have to see. I really hope I can do it, but it’s such a big project to handle.

DD: It would be the first teen magazine actually run by a teenager—at least in print.
Tavi: Yeah. There a few online, and there are zines, but I don’t think there is a proper magazine by a teen in print.

DD: Who would your first cover be?
Tavi: That’s tough. I mean, Chloe Sevigny is my ideal for anything, ever, plus she interned at Sassy and everything, but who knows? She’s also not really a teenager.

DD: Funny—or maybe unfortunate?—that there’s no one closer to your own age who’s cover-worthy. Or you just don’t have teen idols?
Tavi: Yeah, that’s the thing. I would try to keep away from that. It wouldn’t be as much about celebrities, just more about people who create things that I like, which I think is a healthier approach than worship and obsession over the personal lives of celebrities.

DD: You have to deal with some of that celebrity stuff yourself, right? You have people reading and commenting about you and Spencer, your boyfriend—
Tavi: Ew, not my boyfriend!

DD: [laughter] Well, that’s what the internet says.
Tavi: I am putting stuff out there. It’s not weird for you to know about my first kiss if I’m writing about it. I think it’s funny.

DD: OK. So here’s a silly personal question: now that your blue’s all gone, what is your next hair colour?
Tavi: I want to try pink. Or ginger! That would be a good fall change.

DD: Speaking of seasons, let’s go back to your magazine. How often would it come out? Quarterly? Monthly?
Tavi: Oh, no. Not that much. I mean, maybe it would be bi-annual or something. I think that each one would be sort of like a seasonal guide—but guide isn’t the right word.

DD: Like a yearbook?
Tavi: Yes! That might even be a good name.

DD: What’s the title in your high school yearbook? Did you win Most Likely to Succeed or anything like that?
Tavi: I won Most Likely to Be a Fashion Designer — which is close, but I would never. I don’t think I would be good at it. And then I got Most Likely to Get a Book Written About My Life.