CALL ME HOPELESSLY nostalgic, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge a major event happening this week: the release of “The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before” ($17, Scholastic). A prequel to the long-running book series — a seminal part of my mid-’80s childhood — follows the earnest middle school sitters in their delightfully lo-fi world. (Telephone landlines! Flashlight Morse code messages! Kid-Kits!)

But my tweenage-level excitement over the book — yes, I asked for an advance press copy and devoured it in about an hour — isn’t just about a touching trip down memory lane. The BSC introduced me to my first-ever fashion icon: the artistic, almost avant-garde Claudia Kishi. (And I’m not the only one: The hilarious and popular blog has been waxing on Miss Kishi’s outre outfits for three years now.)

I wouldn’t be the fashion lover I am today without that early encounter with Claud and her hair combs, lace-up sandals and dangly fruit earrings. (Also deserving of accolades for their style influence: Jessica Wakefield, Sassy magazine.) And while you might not find me in, say, alligator barrettes or polka-dot high-top sneakers, Claud’s passion for both kicked off a lifetime ambition in me to dress a little less Kristy and a little more crazy.