On a Sunday morning at Starbucks on 50th Street in Edina, Kate Glavan was sitting by a wall away from the hustle and bustle. Seated at a high table, this young lady was dressed in a bomber jacket layered over a floral tank layered over a turtleneck paired with distressed boyfriend jeans, booties and a gold cuff.
Kate is a 17-year-old senior at Edina High School, a volleyball player, and by all accounts a normal teenager. But we sought out Kate because she is also a celebrity who stands out at school, not just because of her 6-foot frame but also because of her fashion blog, the Suburstyle. She’s a self-described introvert “but with bold opinions, speaking my mind when it comes to things like planet change and the portrayal and internalized struggles of women.” Her senior essay on the environmental and political impact of fashion helped her secure a spot at NYU, where she’s heading in the fall for an individualized program in journalism and politics infused with arts and fashion. She’ll also be playing volleyball.
Kate’s accomplishments led the online fashion and culture magazine Manrepeller, with millions of followers, to select Kate as one of six teens (out of thousands of applicants) to be a featured contributor. Her piece was about personal style, one thing she wishes grown-ups would stop doing, and her thoughts on the past presidential election and voting.
In addition to a conversation about family life, personal goals and boys, we asked Kate about her blog and fashion.
Q: How long have you been blogging?
A: Since sophomore year. Summer gets boring for high school kids and I was bored. My friend was interested in photography. I like fashion, so she started taking pictures of my outfits throughout the week.
Q. Does it take a long time to get ready in the morning?
A. Not really. 30 minutes? Sometimes I pick my clothes the night before.
Q. What’s your style?
A. Patterned, vintage and purposeful. My style is bold, mixing textures and silhouettes. And I like to have some meaning behind it.
Q. How do you stay unique and what’s your advice on developing personal style?
A. Being unique makes waking up and going to school fun. Look beyond trends or typical fashion magazines. Don’t look at what celebrities are doing. Look at bloggers and other artists, and experiment to find what’s comfortable for you.
Q. How do people view you and your blogging?
A. Most friends think it’s cool. Some people find me intimidating at school because they have their own ideas of how I might be but I’m not super-special. It’s just part of me that I play sports and like fashion.
Q. Do you shop in Edina?
A. Not particularly. I like vintage and thrift shopping because money is scarce and my understanding of the cost of fast fashion has heightened, so I do more vintage pieces.
Q. Where do you find inspiration?
A. I’m on Tumblr a lot. I listen to a lot of Ted Talks and follow different bloggers. For fashion, I don’t follow pop culture celebrities that much and use trends minimally. I do like Leandra Medine or Alexa Chung.
Q. Favorite fashion trend for teens and personal essential accessory?
A. Chokers, especially embroidered or textured. Hoop earrings are essential. In Minnesota, a big warm coat is very essential.
Q. Your hardest job so far?
A. I used to coach volleyball for under sixth-grade girls. That was hard. They don't listen.
Q. What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?
A. I head to NYU for college, maybe internships in fashion or publishing, and more reading and story-telling. I see myself as a writer, so anything that lets me do that and combines art and fashion.
Q. You mentioned earlier you like Ted Talks. Which is your favorite?
A. “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimanda Adichie
As many parents fret over “entitled” millennial teens, Kate is making waves at an early age and moving onto bigger campuses and platforms. She's part of a generation of young feminists who are multi-dimensional–who speak out on important issues. But don’t expect Kate to shine the light on all things teen; asked to explain the fascination teen girls have for cutout bootie shorts, she responds with a sigh, “I don’t know how to categorize that one. I don’t understand them either.”