By Floriane Leger
Although I’m spending a year at SMU as an exchange student, France is my home. And for quite awhile now, as some of my friends would say, I’ve had a massive “girl crush” on the French blogger Garance Doré. So I could not believe it when I heard she would be speaking at SMU. It has been my dream to meet her for years, and now it would happen in the last place I thought it would: Dallas.
Doré has relocated from Paris to New York, but she is not yet as famous in the United States as she is in France, so let me introduce her.
Who is Garance Doré?
Born in a small village in Corsica, Doré found her first job in the movie industry in Marseille, South of France, though she knew little about the business. Doré says this experience helped her realize that it’s possible to succeed in a job, even if you don’t have the right background, when you commit to work. This first experience also helped her decide that she should try to do what she really wanted to do: draw. Doré gave herself one year to become a self-taught illustrator, and it worked. “I never dared to dream before, and so I knew just how precious it was. My dream gave me life… It gave me courage.”As she started working as an illustrator for magazines, the lack of interaction with her viewers disappointed Doré. 2006 marked the beginning of the blogging era and she thought, “Why not me?” This is where the adventure begins.
At first Doré’s blog showcased her illustrations. Over time she started to write more – and in a style that her readers gravitated toward. Her tone is very conversational, and you feel as if you’re reading a note from a friend when reading her blog. The next year, in 2007, Doré realized that she wielded real influence on the Internet when a salesperson told her that an item had sold out thanks to one of her posts. Doré quickly become a star of the French fashion blogging world.
That same year, Doré met the man behind the famous fashion blog The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman. “We met at a fashion show in Paris. It really wasn’t a big deal. We just started talking and talking and we had a lot of stuff in common and an appreciation for what we both did.” They became friends, and Schuman recognized Doré’s potential. He gave her his back-up camera, and she started adding photos to her blog. Their relationship evolved into more than friendship, and they become one of the most influential couples within the growing field of “street style” fashion photography. Schuman’s influence on Doré made her view photography differently: “Who cares about perfection when you can capture a moment saturated with life?”
In 2010, Doré moved to New York while continuing to develop her blog. Now at the head of a budding fashion empire, Doré covers fashion weeks all over the world and works for some of the most prestigious fashion names such as French Vogue, J. Crew, Kate Spade, Dior, Tiffany & Co. and many others.
Exerting a vast influence over the fashion world is not an easy task every day. Doré has endured some biting criticism for writing a blog focused almost exclusively on fashion. To these critics, Doré always responds honestly.
She is always very direct about her life, and I think most people enjoy this honesty. The conversational tone on her blog makes it easy for readers to identify with her, even if she seems to live a life most of us can only dream about. Doré’s high fashion moments could inspire anyone to fantacize. But to me, her best moments are when she shares a story that could happen to anyone. In the end, she is just like me. One of her more relatable posts focused on public toilet struggles. Clearly, Doré is not shy!
In August 2010, Doré moved to New York to live with her boyfriend, Scott Schuman. Many of her French readers feared this would change her blog’s content as Paris was a main character in Doré’s adventures. But she managed to master the change.
Moving to New York increased her readership. Her French fans stuck with Doré, and she developed an even stronger following in the U.S.
I asked Doré to pinpoint the biggest change on her blog after her move to the Big Apple. She answered that her approach to blogging was massively influenced. Ambition is not something you can easily admit to in France, whereas it is celebrated in the U.S. French people tend to look down on anyone who discusses success and commitment. In America, you are allowed to want something and to reach for your dream. She added that living in New York gave her more freedom, and she finally let herself think big.
For an idea of how influential Doré is, just look at the Signature 9 ranking of top fashion bloggers. She is ranked number 11 out of 99 bloggers and is the first French blogger to appear on the list. Dore’s boyfriend is currently beating her, ranked in first place.
Are bloggers the future of the fashion industry?
Nowadays, bloggers are an important part of the fashion industry. In only a couple of years, they have become the ultimate reference. Some brands would do anything to appear on a blog of Doré’s status. Many examples show us that bloggers are investing in print publications as well. Doré, for example, is now writing for the fashion “bible,” French Vogue.
A few years ago there were not as many fashion bloggers as there are now, so it was easier to achieve success. Does it seem that everyone you know writes a fashion or lifestyle blog these days? Yes, but that should not stop anyone from trying. As Doré would say, “Follow your dream, or face a life of regrets.”