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Why fashion "It Girl" Garance Doré quit fashion week

Garance Doré speaks during #BoFVOICES on November 21, 2019 in Oxfordshire, England.
Credit: Samir Hussein/Getty Images Europe/Samir Hussein/Getty Images for T
Why fashion "It Girl" Garance Doré quit fashion week
This is an edited excerpt from a talk Garance Doré gave during Voices, an annual conference by The Business of Fashion. The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author.
In 2006, I was working as an illustrator and booking very few jobs. In a last-ditch attempt to do something with my life, I started a blog and posted my illustrations online.
Until then, it seemed like my life and career involved a lot of poking around in the dark. But it felt like, suddenly, my destiny had opened up.
A few weeks after launching the blog, my work started getting noticed and people started calling to book me for jobs. I quickly moved from the south of France to Paris, where I first encountered fashion week.
Although I wasn't a stranger to fashion, a new set of cool people, who I never knew existed, came into my life. I started publishing photos of fashion editors and fashion week attendees on my blog. I shot on the streets all year round, but the fashion weeks became special moments -- a rendezvous with my audience, if you will.

More authentic times

They felt like more authentic times. The people I was photographing outside shows were mostly wearing their own clothes, rather than looks loaned to them by brands. It was also a smaller world. Back then, there were very few people doing this kind of street-style photography. There was Scott Schuman (The Satorialist), Tommy Ton and me -- and we were helping to make the editors we photographed famous.
But my audience also seemed fascinated by my own story. My universe and profile were both expanding.
Garance Doré at Paris Fashion Week in 2015.
Garance Doré at Paris Fashion Week in 2015. Credit: Christian Vierig/French Select/Getty Images
People liked my photos, my drawings and my "rags-to-riches" story. I was the innocent, unknown soul thrown into this glamorous world. It all felt too good to be true. I didn't really realize at the time, but I was pushing boundaries by talking about luxury online. Long before luxury e-commerce sites became the norm, I was using my digital platform to tell high-fashion stories -- and converting them into sales.
At the time, there were no real tools measuring my audience, but I started hearing from brands. They would tell me, "Garance, your last post about our pants made them sell out! People came into our store with the photo!"
I always thought of the web as being equal, if not superior, to print. I loved the way images looked online, as if they were on a light box. I also loved the immediacy of the internet and, of course, the potential for boundless reach. My growing audience came from Brazil, France, Japan, Australia and beyond.
Soon, my life became a whirlwind of photos and travel as I moved up the fashion ranks. I went from sneaking into shows without a ticket to sitting on the front row, and winning a CFDA award.
It wasn't easy. Fashion was still a closed world, and each step forward entailed many hidden struggles. People at the helm of magazines and high-end department stores were often basking in their own unquestioned power. Despite my successes, I didn't fit into any of their established categories.
A short history of the fashion show
I was seen as an anomaly that would soon disappear -- and I was often treated as one.
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