May 2013: Lauren Xandra in Conversation with Gina Tron
Gina Tron is a scintillating, self-assured Brooklyn-ite, remarkable in her ability to wear many hats. She is an in-print and online author of dark humored fiction and nonfiction, an associate features editor for the lifestyle magazine LADYGUNN, and a contributing writer to BULLETT and other publications.
Her interest in fantasy and fiction similarly manifests itself in her interest in fashion. Gina Tron is the Creative Director for Williamsburg Fashion Weekend and Editor in Chief for their magazine. Her current projects include a new position as a Curator for Runway Passport, a recently finished nonfiction book on six days spent in a psych ward, and her made-daily Gina Tron-coined “Slutcock” cartoons.
Gina Tron largely attributes the ease with which she manages a nontraditional schedule made up of work that stems from her interest in humor and dissidence to a misfit ideology deeply embedded in her after terrible teenage years. As explained in an article she published in VICE that received international attention, Gina Tron was unendingly bullied by her peers. She rebelled through avant-garde clothing and a book filled with rhymes and short stories that described a disco ball at the Elks Club murdering those who mocked her. In person, Gina Tron is able to fluidly incorporate the cruelty she experienced in her youth into creative outlets that alleviate the ‘residual effect’ from her years as the ‘girl who wrote a prom killing story.’
Lauren Xandra: Tell me a little bit about the after effect of the article you wrote on VICE.
Gina Tron: I didn’t think that the accused prom murder spree affected me to this day until I wrote about it. After my story was published, a lot of stuff came to a conclusion. My hometown newspaper put me on its cover the week after it published, this time, on the front page with a positive spin. This opened up dialogue with people I had known then, easing the rift. It also gave me validation and expanded my comfort in pushing boundaries, changing my creative strategies and worldview. From it, I’ve developed a greater level of compassion. I can’t be too weirded out or shocked. I am interested in all genres, and don’t hate the mainstream. Same with politics…
LX: Would you agree that a lot of the greatest work in fashion is rooted in shock value or serves as a confrontation against commercialism?
GT: With Williamsburg fashion weekend, we don’t aim for shock value but we definitely enjoy it if it works. We are definitely against the practice of outsourcing—lots of people in fashion have to outsource because there are not enough factories here, but I think that is starting to change, and that there is definitely a new and effective movement towards local practice.
GT: Yes, we are definitely trying to set an example without being too preachy. I am so not politically correct and I think people often fight for the wrong things, getting hung up on small things. I myself prefer to look to real issues, and view them non-judgmentally. For example, when I show people the Columbine story I wrote, they are quick to say the situation is terrible. There’s no normal, bad, or good—it’s hard to gage how different people will react to the same thing. I’m a writer by nature, and see things from the stance of expose, riding the line of not being too apathetic or too emotional. I try to understand where everyone is coming from and what is driving them, rather than simply exerting my own views.
LX: How did you get involved in fashion in general?
GT: I interned with a fashion designer in 2009 and did a lot of styling, and a lot on my own. After that I started reporting for different publications and reported on Williamsburg Fashion Weekend. I really liked the whole nature of it, not just the style aspect, but also its role as a grassroots organization. They asked me to come on board as Creative Director having done so much work for them.
LX: Is there anywhere you go to shop that you know you can always find something?
GT: Urban Jungle in Bushwick or In God We Trust in Williamsburg. I find most of my clothes at thrift stores and online. A lot of clothes sort of naturally filter in my way—from a friend’s house, from under the couch.
LX: Do you view fashion and fiction both as psychological work?
GT: Often I best make sense of things by fictionalizing people as caricatures of themselves, preferring that to making things up out of nothing. Psychological too, ‘cause as a writer you go a little crazy…One day everything is good, the next its awful. There’s a point where you just need to give your work to someone else to look at. When I even hand it to someone else, I think of it differently, knowing that other people will be reading it. But still, it’s best to leave the room sometimes.
LX: Do you have any exciting projects going on now?
GT: I recently landed a position as a curator for Runway Passport, an international fashion blog. They are going to have different boutiques up for different cities, and I am the curator for Williamsburg. I also blog cartoons, usually making them everyday, and am also designing shirts with my cartoons for a non-profit, Hollaback!, that fights against street harassment. I just finished a nonfiction book about six days I spent at a psych ward/rehab not so long ago. A dark humor expose. I’ve been working on that for a couple years, and have been at that point where I need an extra push to send it out. I figured I would send a query out via email, and got a response back from someone asking me to send them the whole manuscript! I stayed up for three days in a row finishing it off and now can send it out. Those places are still so backwards.
LX: My understanding is that places like wards or rehab centers are run on a binary model of authoritarian rule and limited rights to self-representation. I imagine that’s very hard as a creative person who is largely fueled by self-expression.
GT: I’m not anti-authority but became a little that way there, especially because oftentimes the staff abuses people who are not fully there, and that’s hard to witness.
LX: Do you manage your schedule by whim?
GT: I live in organized chaos, always running around, but never working too hard. I like writing for LadyGunn—I think it’d like to just focus on writing, but I love fashion too, and cartooning.
Stay entertained by Gina Tron:
Noah Becker: Editor-in-Chief