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Stephanie Danan: Conscious Creation

5 months ago by

In Partnership With Co

I was so honored when my friend Stephanie Danan asked me to participate in the Pre-Fall campaign for Co, the brand she co-created with her partner, Justin Kern. Not only because I deeply respect her and everything she does and that I LOVE the brand —— but because I know how important it is for her to collaborate with people she truly connects with, on a human level, which I find incredibly inspiring, and hits close to home.

Her journey is fascinating and her honesty about it, incredibly refreshing.
Here we talk about her journey from studying and working in the film industry for more than a decade to moving into the fashion industry, a world she once swore she’d never join.

Her story is full of wisdom gained through deep reflection and years of stripping away the layers, to finally live a life that is in line with who she truly is. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Stephanie as much as I did.

podcast cover

Stephanie Danan: Conscious Creation

Pardon My French with Garance Doré
Stephanie Danan: Conscious Creation

00:00
00:00

we are dore pardon my french stephanie co and garance dore

we are dore pardon my french stephanie co and garance dore

On never wanting to work in fashion when she was younger…
I grew up in it, but swore I’d never be in fashion. As a child, I experienced it in a very difficult way. It felt very superficial to me and I was seeking something deeper. I don’t know if it was the life my parents were leading at the time or all the clothes. I always loved the clothes, even if I rejected it, I did always love the clothes, but I wanted something more and that’s why I ended up going into film.

On visiting an ashram with her mother at 17 years old…
Within hours I found myself in a sari with a dot on my forehead and chanting and kind of freaking out. I broke down into tears for the next three days. It was the most extraordinary experience of my life. I broke down because all of my teenage angst came to the surface.

How taking a film class helped her realize she wanted to tell stories…
I wrote a paper on a film and the whole experience of watching the film, understanding the film and writing about it, felt like this spiritual journey. Just the process of understanding how you make and write a film, the actors, the story, it just felt so philosophical. The narrative structure just felt so real and relatable to me. From that moment on, I was like, I want to tell stories and be a storyteller.

On relating to those who are searching…
I think I just relate to people who are constantly searching for themselves. When you’re searching for yourself and you’re honest about it, it usually means you’re free and you put your flaws on the table and don’t try to be perfect. Those kind of characters are characters who have a quirkiness to them, and are a little bit more interesting.

Stephanie Danan: Conscious Creation
we are dore pardon my french stephanie co and garance dore

On fighting against tradition only to realize you’re immersed in it…
You fight it and you’re like, I’m a modern woman and I do not need this, this does not define me or my success. Then, I found myself in my 30s, trying to keep up with the Jones like a total idiot. It was like somebody drugged me and all of a sudden I was a robot. Just like everyone else, you will follow the path and the path is to get married, get a house, make money, be successful, learn how to cook, be perfect, look amazing, drive the right car. I don’t know what happened, but it was like I was hypnotized for six years and woke up in this deep nightmare!

On coming to terms with the end of her marriage…
I came out of that experience feeling like I’d lost myself completely but with a desire to not only find myself, but to finally live a life that resembled me. And when you start living a life that resembles you and is in sync, it’s amazing.

On realizing she wasn’t a conventional woman…
Once I started to strip away the layers of the superficial things, the idea that I was going to be in this perfect relationship with this perfect man, and that my career needed to look like that, I started to shed all that. Almost like an onion, you strip away and strip away, and I started to get to the heart of who I was. I realized I actually was not a conventional woman and that I liked things that felt unconventional.

On not ending up with a conventional life…
When that didn’t happen and I was 37, I was in a state of mind of, my life is going to be just as extraordinary with or without the child, with or without the husband. It’s not a better life, it’s a different life. I would be just as excited with this life as that life. What the world or god will give me, or what the energy will bring to me, I don’t know. But I do know that I can control how excited I am about either life.

we are dore pardon my french stephanie co and garance dore

we are dore pardon my french stephanie co and garance dore

On the appeal of confidence…
When we do a lot of work on ourselves, when we’re in a place where we’ve come out of something difficult and painful and we’re ready to really dig deep, we begin to feel more and more empowered. You exude that empowerment and feel great and I think it’s very attractive.

On the beginning of Co…
We very quickly wanted to do projects together – film projects and art projects. And then fashion came along as one of the options, literally because we found ourselves in my mother’s garage one afternoon helping her clean it out and opening boxes. In those boxes were all these incredible clothes my mother wore in the 80s, she was incredibly glamorous. She wore Yohji Yamamoto and Commes des Garçons, she was always impeccable, super avant garde and on the cutting edge of fashion. She’d go to fashion shows with Joyce Ma, they were the glamour girls. It was really incredible. My youth came back, but all of a sudden in this very positive light. We just decided as a project, we didn’t think it was going to be something we did forever, but just as a project, to do a collection. That’s how it started.

On creating a more edited lifestyle…
We want less and less product in our closets and want a more edited lifestyle. I’m super in line with that and believe in it 100%. I believe it’s important to have few but beautiful things and love them and for these things to really bring happiness to your life. This idea of stripping it down to the heart, it’s full circle. Using that philosophy in creating product is really interesting right now because we live in so much excess and I’m feeling that deeply and it breaks my heart, the excess of things. In the way we design and in building this company and this platform, philosophically we’re going to become more stripped down, more edited, less is more, more refined and getting to the heart.

On following and breaking the rules…
There was a period of time during the eight years of the brand, there was definitely a moment where we were like ok, we really have to grow and follow a few of the rules. We realized that wasn’t really working for us. So in the last year and a half, there’s been a real revelation that actually, our growth is going to be based on fully doing things that we love. And on our terms. Because when you start growing artificially, there’s a disconnect and people feel it. Even if that growth is slow, for it to feel real and authentic and for us to continue being ourselves and true to our voice.

we are dore pardon my french stephanie co and garance dore
we are dore pardon my french stephanie co and garance dore
we are dore pardon my french stephanie co and garance dore

OTHER THINGS DISCUSSED
Rudolph Schindler
A Woman Under the Influence
Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi
Mak Center for Art and Architecture

Special thanks to Co for letting us record in their beautiful showroom.

8 comments

Add yours
  • Pourquoi ce n’ Est pas en français???????????????????

  • I so loved this episode !! Probably one of my favourite in PMF’s history ! Thank you so much to Stephanie & Garance to share with us such an intimate, interesting, gentle, honest, spiritual and very very very inspiring conversation <3 <3 <3

  • I would like to know where all the commenters are? I would like to meet them again online, and have a chat with them, read their opinions, and see them CONFRONTING their ideas. I would like to get inspired! Is there an other place, blog, something, where I can find these people? Thanks!

  • Thank you so much for the inspiration and boosting confidence in who we are and where we are going! I enjoyed this episode till the last second ?

  • Dominique June, 18 2019, 5:26 / Reply

    Garance !! Merci de penser aux françaises !!!!
    Une mode de la rue française et des interviews en français … tu nous perds là ?

  • Thank you so much for this episode with Stephanie!!! I came across it at the right time of my life (finishing uni) and starting a new chapter!! I broke down in tears during the parts of talking about self discovery! Lots of love xx

  • Yes! I have just recently learned of Co from the brilliant Allyson Walsh of That’s Not My Age and she often extols the virtues of this brand. It’s lovely to know the face and soul behind the company. I’m on a path to simplicity and this brand seems to fit with how I am trying to edit my life . I had it all with a capital A, yet things have recently happened in the past few years that have made me question everything . I want to strip our life back to basics and am excited to include Co as part of this process . Thanks Garance for this feature and as always, requesting more of this – more pioneers of truth, rawness and simplicity .

  • The LA bashing was not cool. LA was great always and there has always been a strong art culture here it just was not as obvious. We were not weirdos then and just because it is on trend to move here now, it is not cool to dis all of us that knew it was magical long before you arrived.

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