When a blogger is really good at her job, readers come away from each post feeling like they've just read a letter from a dear friend -- and in the fashion space, no one does the whole unfiltered honesty thing quite like Garance Doré.
On Thursday night, IFB and Crossroads Trading Company hosted a conversation with Doré in New York, where she spoke about the evolution of her site (and the world of fashion blogging in general) since its inception in 2006. One of the aspects of Doré's site that's made it stand out from the get-go is her originality (she regularly features her own hand-drawn illustrations) and staying true to her voice, instead of bending to create content she thinks people want to read. She also hasn't jumped on the update-your-social-media-every-five-minutes bandwagon, saying, "I hate selfies. And I don't like to show off... no one needs to see the new thing I just bought."
Doré has written about aspirational fashion and luxury from the beginning -- even though she couldn't afford it at the time -- and when her commenters lashed out at her because they wanted to read about brands that were mass market, she stood by her content. "I've had these transformative moments with my readers, after I was making more money and could afford nicer clothes," she said. "I thought, 'Can I talk about this? Are people going to 'divorce' me because I am changing?"
So when luxury brands began expanding into digital marketing, she was the first one they called. It led to a snowball effect of tremendous opportunities -- including one that almost pulled her away from her own site.
"When my blog was four years old, an important fashion magazine came to me and asked me to be the editor-in-chief of its website," she told us with a smile. "I asked for a crazy salary because I thought they'd never give it to me, but when they made an offer, it was like, 'Oh, shit.'"
Doré admitted that she was seduced by the idea of being an editor, and that the EIC of the particular magazine that was courting her is a pretty big deal. "I won't name names, but you all know her, and it would have been so cool walking to all of the shows with her during Fashion Week." She may have remained tight lipped, but we have a pretty good guess about who the editrix in question might be (starts with an "E" and ends with a "mmanuelle Alt").
It may have sounded like the opportunity of a lifetime for Doré, who was still struggling to make ends meet and working out of a tiny apartment in Paris at the time, but the publisher of the magazine told her she'd have to discontinue her blog if she took a job at the company. "If you work with us under our name, you check your name at the door," Doré recalls him saying. "But the blog is my happiness. I didn't feel it in my heart; I couldn't leave what I'd created."
Doré eventually turned down the position, and while she immediately felt a sense of relief, the publisher came back with threats. "He told me, 'You'll never work with any of our editions again,' which is a big deal," she said, but her site has always been about her dreams, and she wasn't about to give that up. And we're sure glad she didn't.