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August 15, 2010

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French fashion blogger has that Midas touch

FOR brands trying to decipher social media, star bloggers are seen as having the Midas touch.

Three years after launching her namesake blog, Garance Dore, a Paris-based illustrator and photographer who created the site as a platform for her work, has been barraged with so many brands seeking tips and advice that she has hired US-based agent Walter Schupfer.

Combining her own fashion illustrations with breezy musings, style profiles and snapshots of snappy dressers encountered on her journeys, Dore's site attracts some 40,000 visits daily.

Dore, 34, is the sole blogger for French Vogue and recently collaborated on a limited edition line of T-shirts for Gap. She is dating a fellow fashion blogger, The Sartorialist's Scott Schuman.

Q: What's the secret to a successful blog?

A: I've never tried to restrain myself or think of myself as a formula. The only secret is to be passionate and sincere. If I go to some crazy fashion party, say, I always ask myself, "How do I talk about it? Am I this insider who has become part of the fashion bubble?" I have to take a step back.

Q: How do you make sure working with brands does not affect the integrity of your blog?

A: I am a freelance illustrator and photographer, so working with brands is my job. But I talk on my blog only of the collaborations that I think can be of interest for my readers and for me. I refuse any contract which would include mentioning a brand on my blog in any way. The brands understand that quite well, as that is what made my blog what it is.

Q: What projects do you have cooking?

A: In 2010, travels for the blog: Rio and Korea soon, with more self-financed trips to surprising nonfashion capitals. I'm also developing the graphics for a product-based project I'm working on with Scott (Schuman) and negotiating my participation in a potential TV program ... But the biggest (focus) for me will be pushing the visual boundaries of how I present my ideas on the blog (videos, for example). Technology is in constant evolution and I want to explore that, as I can now shoot and film with the same camera. I am also working with my web programmers on reformatting the blog to show my images in a way that's not been done on the Internet.

Q: Will the format of blogs change?

A: I'd love to see amazing editorials online with big sound, but the problem is the technology in people's houses is not advanced enough. The Internet has to stay very simple. People want to see images fast.

Q: Do you feel part of a movement?

A: No, I feel part of a group of people who are able to communicate immediately ... The energy comes from having to come up with new ideas every day. It pushes creativity.

Q: How do you view traditional forms of media compared with blogs?

A: I love traditional press, it's what saved me from a cultural abyss growing up in Corsica ... But the Internet has changed things ... When a magazine tries to go online and apply the same formula, it doesn't work. In the future, there won't be much difference between blogs and traditional media. It will be very mixed.

Q: Where does your love of fashion come from?

A: My mother. I've published some incredible pictures of her in the 1970s. In the 1980s, she would throw all of these crazy parties every night and would pick me up from school wearing Gaultier or Montana. She had hair like a pineapple, only black, and everything in the house was white, including the TV.

Q: How has the (economic) crisis changed fashion?

A: It's all a matter of cycles. We all want to go back to (basics), but come 10 years, it will all be crazy again. I was a teenager during the recession in the 1990s, and it was a very inspiring time for me with all the street-style fashion. In magazines like i-D there were already all these profiles of noncelebrities. ... For me, these are the most inspiring times.


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