How Fashion and Feminism Became Bedfellows

A former Teen Vogue editor explains how Tavi Gevinson’s new magazine proves that the two are no longer mutually exclusive.

Kara Jesella

rookiemag.com. Click image to expand.Features on Rookie magazine, at rookiemag.com

Among the twenty- and thirtysomething women who populate the New York publishing world, there’s a near-universal love for Sassy, the offbeat 1990s-era teen magazine, which they excitedly read along with their Plath and Didion as precocious adolescents. So it’s no surprise that Rookie magazine, billed as the new Sassy, got so much press in places like the New York Times Magazine and nymag.com when it launched last week. Sassy was unlike its contemporaries, prissy Seventeen or lascivious YM: It made fun of celebrities, talked to its readers in teen-speak, and assured them that getting into a good college was as important as getting a date. Fifteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson, the founder and editor of Rookie, is known for a similar brand of down-to-earth quirkiness. A smart, stylish girl from Chicago who charmed magazine editors with her fashion blog, Style Rookie, Gevinson is what those who work at teen mags refer to as a "real girl." This is the kind of girl that Sassy was known for portraying and the kind of girl whom adult magazine editors believe Rookie could speak to now that Sassy is long gone. (Gevinson charmed me as well; I met her this summer when we were part of a Sassy-related event.)

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