Fashion and science are merging more and more these days, and the Museum of Science and Industry is recognizing that with this week’s Fashion Forward event (purchase tickets here), celebrating technological advances in the fashion world. The event will showcase innovative designs, including the Galaxy Dress, the world’s largest wearable LED display, and present the first-ever Fashion Inspiration Award to Garance Doré.
The French blogger (now NYC-based), illustrator, photographer, and author made waves years ago as one of the first street-style bloggers and partnerships with major brands like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. We caught up with Doré as she prepped for her very first Chicago visit to receive this award.
You’re being honored at the Museum of Science and Industry with the first Fashion Inspiration Award. What does that mean to you?
GARANCE DORÉ: It’s very humbling; very meaningful. I’ve created something and I know that a lot of people respond to it, and I know I was so very lucky to be at the forefront of a revolution of fashion and technology, so to me, personally, it’s probably one of the most meaningful awards that I’ll receive. It’s also very meaningful because I’m living the American dream. I moved from France and came here, and America opened its arms to me, so anything that I get recognized [for], I’m incredibly thankful. I’m living a real love story with America and it means so much.
Why do you think you were chosen for this honor?
GD: You can never really talk for others, [and] there are probably a lot of different factors, but the way I understand it, [the award is] about a new way to communicate [and] it’s about not being scared of exploring new fields. When I started, people in fashion didn’t believe in the Internet. I had an interesting naiveté because I was just trying to do something that was meaningful to me, but at the same time that [Internet] wave came and everything changed. I think I probably embody that change in some way, [and] I think when people talk about blogs [and] about the new way to communicate about fashion, my name comes up often.
I was one of the first ones on the Internet to really think that it would be possible to talk about luxury, for example. When I started blogging in 2006, the Internet was not a place where you would talk about luxury. It was eBay, [and] it was [about] getting cheaper stuff. [But] I had a taste for beautiful things. I didn’t have any money, [or] the means to talk about Burberry or Chanel, but I [wasn’t] talking about buying fashion. I was talking about dreaming about fashion [and] talking about inspiration. After a few months, fashion brands recognized what I was doing and that’s when they started calling me. That was a small but very important revolution. I’m very proud of that, and it’s probably one of the things I’m recognized [for] today.
The Fashion Forward event is centered on the combination of fashion and technology. What draws you to that combination?
GD: It’s a personal set of tastes. I always tell people I think we’re in a time where, instead of thinking, “In which box should I put myself?” we should think, “What are my talents? What do I love?” and combine all these things and see there is something there and try [it]. I’ve always been pretty techy: I had a computer, I was making my own website for my illustrations, and I love HTML. So there is that, and then my love for fashion, and my love for expressing myself and communicating. I think they came together—that marriage of fashion and technology—very naturally [for me] and I didn’t try to separate them. At that time [when starting the blog] I didn’t even know I was about to create a job for myself. Most people would say, “Do you love fashion or do you love computers?” I didn’t try to separate that, the same way I didn’t try to think, “If I want to work in fashion, I should go work at a magazine.” I was like, “No, this is wonderful. I can talk about fashion a different way.”
During the event, the Galaxy Dress will be one of the pieces of wearable technology on display. Have you seen it?
GD: Yes, I’ve seen that dress. It’s beautiful; it’s very exciting!
What do you think of the idea of wearable technology?
GD: I think it’s definitely our future—we’re not going backwards. You could probably say we’re already wearing our phones. There is not a day where you can see me going around the city without my phone in my hand; it’s becoming an extension of myself, whether we like it or not. I think it’s going to become very natural [that] our technology is going to be included in our clothes. I think what’s interesting [about the Galaxy] Dress, is it shows even more how integrated technology will be. It’s not just going to be an item like the [Apple] watch. It’s going to be sensors in your t-shirts when you go run, so you can test what’s in your sweat.
This [past Paris] fashion week, Apple was very present for the first time. They organized a dinner with Azzedine Alaia, [and] they showed the watch at Colette. For the first time you can see a tech brand like Apple [show] an interest in fashion people. Technology is penetrating every part of our lives, and I think fashion is one of the very important parts. Even if you don’t like fashion, you will get dressed in the morning, so I think [wearable technology is] a very smart move. Nobody knows how it’s going manifest in a few years, that but it’s definitely where it’s going.
How far do you think we are from seeing wearable technology in stores?
GD: Well, you already see it, [with] your watches and shoes. Diane von Furstenberg did a fashion show where all the models were wearing Google Glass. Of course its just the beginning, and clumsy, and it’s not looking the way we would want it to look. But soon…every fashion brand will want to offer [it] because people are going to flock to it, and be very interested in how your clothes communicate with your body and with the technology that you have at your wrist or in your had. It’s going to be a new gold rush.
This event will be your first trip to Chicago. What are your impressions of the city?
GD: I think Chicago, for a French person, really represents…the American dream. Maybe because you see it so many times in movies, [but] it represents something very strong. Of course, I want to try deep-dish pizza and things like [that], but I’m going to be very busy and to me exploring a city always starts with meeting the people. So that’s going to be my main focus. Also, as a French person, one of the things I will do in a city is go to a café and look at people walking around and get a feel for it.
Do you have any tips for dressing for the upcoming Chicago winter while still maintaining a sense of style?
GD: Yeah, we have pretty brutal winters in New York as well. It’s pretty crazy, and we’re all scared. We usually all end up wearing our parkas for three months. Having layers is very important, and I have a real passion for outerwear. I always try to think of the positive: For me, getting beautiful, very warm scarves and coats and protecting yourself in a very chic way can be a fun. I wear things that are pretty simple, like jeans [and] sweaters, but beautiful outerwear that [I] won’t feel depressed after five weeks of cold. I try to buy a new coat every year, and take care of them and make them really part of my style, because I like to be outside. So it also depends on your lifestyle. If you’re only going to spend time outside for the time you go to work, you dress differently. But for me, it’s a lot about meeting people and being outside, and I walk everywhere. That’s really part of my lifestyle so [when it comes to] my outerwear style, I want to look good when I’m outside in the winter.
Have you gone shopping yet for your new coat this year?
GD: Yes! I’m going to talk about it on my blog very soon. I actually bought three coats that I really love. I bought one at J.Crew that’s amazing; I got one from a young designer that’s very big and very warm; and then I got one from Cos. They’re opening in America now and it’s a great brand.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF SCOTT SCHUMAN; THE SARTORIALIST
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