Elle’s top editors spoke on a panel last night for WFIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology’s radio and television broadcasting network. Of course the topic of fashion bloggers came up, and whenever they do at these things, Tavi’s name usually comes up too. Elle creative director and Twitter fiend Joe Zee reiterated a point fashion news director Anne Slowey made when we spoke to her about Tavi a few months ago. “What am I getting out of a 13-year-old’s opinion about fashion? How does that help me distill the collections? What am I supposed to be buying? That’s what an editor’s job at a magazine is,” she told us.
Zee said last night:
“You know, Tavi, like her or don’t like her, she’s 13 — whether she even really writes it herself, the idea that she has gotten all this attention, it’s because of the Internet, not because of anything else. [At Elle] we’re talking about people who have really done this their entire lives, who’ve really covered fashion, who really understand fashion … understand the history of fashion, can critique it from a point of view, [can] actually relay it back to something they’ve experienced and understand. I don’t think Tavi even knows what happened five years ago. She has every right to [post] on the Internet, she has every right to have the following she has … everybody can follow her and find her creative or funny or quirky or inspiring, but the idea is there are people here [at Elle] who do know the history and I think that Anne [Slowey] stresses this. It’s absolutely true: if you don’t know what you’re talking about, then do you really have the credibility to talk about it?”
Elle style director Kate Lanphear sees things differently. She countered:
“But there’s also something beautiful about these fresh voices that can say something that maybe sometimes someone who does have a lot of credibility misses, or they see it through a really fresh eye. I think that’s the debate that is going on in our industry full-stop, because we don’t want to discredit years and years of experience and hard work and paying your dues and learning about what we do day to day, but there is something really beautiful about all of these really fresh perspectives that come out of the Internet.”
Slowey said that she’s a huge fan of BryanBoy and enjoys hearing him gush over the collections when she finds herself sitting next to him at shows. Though her comments to us on Tavi drew some ire, she fearlessly addressed her again: “Tavi’s a unique situation because she’s put herself — first of all, she’s been 13 for like, the last four years — but she’s put herself in the center of the cyclone.” Good point. It does feel like she’s been 13 for over a year. Maybe no one wants to believe she can — and will — grow up.