The Insider: Marisa Meltzer
If there’s anyone with more nineties nostalgia than Marisa Meltzer, we’d like to meet her. The author of How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time and Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music, this Cali-bred New Yorker has a deep penchant for (and knowledge of) the lost treasures of the decade past. And, despite a major case of post-India jet lag, she’s a whole lot of fun to talk to.
Q: Both your books deal with the nineties. What about the decade appeals to you?
A: Definitely the clothes—I fondly remember them. Some might say that I sometimes still dress like the decade hasn’t ended. I also love the music. Whoever said the music from your adolescence is the most burned onto your soul is so right. Nineties girl music will always be my go-to, comfort zone, angsty, emotional choice. I also like remembering that I had no internet at that time, and I somehow managed to fully function.
Q: So, if you had a soundtrack to your life, what would be on it?
A: There would probably be some angry girl music—lots of riot grrrl songs like “Carnival” by Bikini Kill. Then there would be some Beach Boys and Joni Mitchell, too—songs that remind me of my childhood in California.
Q: What was your favorite thing about Sassy?
A: It was like the cool older sister I never had. I’ve never been really crafty, but I remember all the clothing tutorials in the magazine and definitely made the pillowcase dress once. I think I made it out of a non-king size pillow case, which frightens me because I can’t even imagine how short that dress must have been.
Q: These days, you follow the blogs pretty heavily. What’s your jam right now?
A: I’ve been really obsessed with Taylor-Ruth Baldwin’s Tumblr called Hanging Rock Comics lately. She’s 17, from Indiana, and draws these comics. They’re super angsty and deal with teenage life—being unpopular, pondering about whether or not this is the best time of your life and what that means, gaining freedom, fear of growing older. It’s all very poignant.
Q: Who are your favorite up-and-coming designers?
A: I was in Germany recently and bought some Henrik Vibskov stuff for the first time. It was sort of like a when-in-Rome moment—I always get really native when I travel. So my version of going native in Germany was wearing Henrik Vibskov. When I was in India, I was totally wearing harem pants without any sense of irony.
Q: I heard you have a crazy-amazing story you about our first ALL Knitwear hat.
A: The afternoon I got it, I put it on and went to the gourmet grocery store in my neighborhood. And another girl had it on too. I saw her walking in, and we both went, “Of a Kind!!!” Someone at the grocery store made us take a picture. I kind of wish I had that photo because I was wearing the hat with a fur coat and sweatpants.