My Blog__ Savor The Child: Tavi & Cecilia

November 16, 2010 | By

We have this rule at Girls Rock Camp that goes "Don't slag another female musician, even if your taste in music doesn't match hers. It's great when any woman makes music." We try to enforce this rule to all the girls to create a positive environment where nobody feels alienated for their taste. Maybe the authors at Refinery 29 should have followed the golden Girls Rock Camp rule before slagging self-proclaimed "youngest designer in the world", Cecilia Cassini. She's irritating, but isn't it a big no-no to make fun of a child?

Eleven-year-old designer Cecilia Cassini got her first sewing machine at age six and went from there. She now sells her designs at Fred Segal. I first stumbled across Cecilia when I saw a clip of her on the Nate Berkus's show. I'll admit, she terrified me. When she spoke it felt as though Rachel Zoe and Lauren Conrad had crawled into her stomach to speak through the body of this megalomaniac demon child. Cecilia's movements were so conscious and so precocious that even infamously clueless host, Nate Berkus commented, "Now, honey, this is all well and good, but please promise to be a kid, huh?"

Today Cecilia came back into my radar again, but this time she was wearing butterfly wings and a purple sequined dress. In this new clip from MaximoTV.com, Cecilia tells the same stories as she did on Nate Berkus's program like a little pageant doll. Unlike Tavi Gevinson - who can be irksome in her own way, but still ends up charming the pants off of me with her awkward little giggles and pro-feminist ways, god bless that girl - Cecilia is the antithesis of a positive role model for young women. I don't like this comparison because it draws on a rigid binary between the two young girls and what's fair about that? However, with only two, under-eighteen fashion moguls in the spotlight it's hard not to compare the two women. While Cecilia is talking about how "amazing" - said in exact Rachel Zoe voice, by the way - dresses are and that she hated her sewing teacher because "like, she said that some fabrics didn't match when I thought they did, so like, I didn't go to her anymore", Tavi is proposing blueprints for a new feminist teen fashion magazine at the Idea Conference in Toronto. (Note: As my good friend Cameron pointed out, "There's no difference between Tavi and some middle-ager running a teen magazine. Neither of them have a grasp of a real teen experience." )

Tavi is a teenager, but Cecilia is still technically a kid. In an overprotective way, I want her to just be a kid - and judging by comments, many other readers do too. When I was eleven I was riding my bike with my neighbor Alyssa and making forts in the back forty behind our house. I was playing. Sure, Cecilia is being creative by designing clothing, but this isn't play. Designing products that are consumed in great quantities by the public for financial compensation is not the same as building a tent for your trolls out of dish towels. Cecilia may express her creativity by designing cute little hats and dresses, but her freedom to imagine new possibilities is stunted by the fact that her play is happening within the confines of an industry.

Are kids still kids anymore when their blogging leads to front row tickets at New York fashion week? Are kids still kids when they have to worry about a new fall line? It's an interesting question and I'm sure if we could get a hold of them, Mary-Kate and Asley might have some of the answers.

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