You Should Be Reading: New Directions in Fashion Blogging


By now, we’re all very familiar with the world of fashion blogging. It seems like every time you turn around, ten new fashion blogs crop up, each with a unique take on design and style. While early research into fashion blogging tended to focus on the U.S. or European fashion blog as an outlet for creativity and self-expression, today’s research on the topic is concerned more with the fashion blog’s potential as a marketing tool and source for the acceptance–and future purchase–of new brands and styles. Central to this research is a focus on countries other than the United States and those of Western Europe. In this week’s edition of “You Should Be Reading,” Worn Through presents four recently published articles on new directions in the world of fashion blogging. We hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave a link to your favorite fashion blog(s) in the comment box below.  

1. Kulmala, M., Mesiranta, N., & Tuominen, P. (2013). Organic and amplified eWOM in consumer fashion blogsJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 17(1), 20-37.

In the past few years fashion blogs have become a popular form of user-generated content, and consequently, the fashion industry has shown great interest in fashion blog marketing. The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze consumer-to-consumer (C2C) electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) in fashion blogs, and especially to compare naturally-occurring (i.e., organic eWOM) with marketer-influenced (i.e., amplified eWOM). The study takes a netnographic approach to the phenomenon of fashion blogs. The empirical material consists of observational data including blog texts and audience comments of six popular fashion blogs in Finland. Findings indicate that although not as varied as organic, amplified eWOM content in consumer fashion blogs resembles organic content. The main topics discussed in organic eWOM include personal style, brands, designers and retailers, tips and advice as well as purchases. Amplified topics concerned products received by the blogger, brands, designers and retailers, tips given to the audience, and competitions. The findings indicate that for blog marketing to be effective and credible, the marketed fashion items, designers, or retailers need to fit the blogger’s personal style. Social media, especially blogs, play an important role in contemporary fashion marketing. This study addresses the emerging, yet scarce area of research into how marketer influence on fashion bloggers can be seen in user-generated content. — Full Article Abstract

2. Luvaas, B. (2013). Indonesian fashion blogs: On the promotional subject of personal styleFashion Theory, 17(1), 55-76. 

Over the last several years, a growing number of bloggers from around the globe have forged themselves into voices of authority within the international fashion scene, challenging the status quo of the fashion world, and creating new possible modes of participation in a notoriously insular industry. But some voices are still largely shut out of the conversation. This article considers the still marginal position of Indonesian fashion bloggers in the context of an expansive global fashion industry. It argues that fashion blogs have become a dynamic site for the reconstitution of power and influence within that industry at a time when design and manufacture often happen on opposite ends of the globe. Indonesian fashion bloggers, thus, are helping rebrand Indonesia as a site for the creative production of fashion, not just the rote manufacture of other peoples’ products. But they do so, the article concludes, at a significant personal cost: the further incorporation of Indonesia, and themselves, into the global neoliberal economy. — Full Article Abstract

3. McQuarrie, E. F., Miller, J., & Phillips, B. J. (2013). The megaphone effect: Taste and audience in fashion blogging. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(1), 136-158.  

The megaphone effect refers to the fact that the web makes a mass audience potentially available to ordinary consumers. The article focuses on fashion bloggers who acquire an audience by iterated displays of aesthetic discrimination applied to the selection and combination of clothing. The authors offer a theoretical account of bloggers’ success in terms of the accumulation of cultural capital via public displays of taste and describe how the exercise of taste produces economic rewards and social capital for these bloggers. The article situates fashion blogging as one instance of a larger phenomenon that includes online reviews and user-generated content and extends to the consumption of food and home decor as well as clothing. In these instances of the megaphone effect, a select few ordinary consumers are able to acquire an audience without the institutional mediation historically required. — Full Article Abstract

4. Pihl, C., & Sandström, C. (2013). Value creation and appropriation in social media — The case of fashion bloggers in SwedenInternational Journal of Technology Management, 61(3-4). 

This paper explores and explains the emergence of commercial blogging. Studying the contents of 18 of Sweden’s top fashion blogs, our findings suggest that bloggers create value by generating improved transaction efficiencies. Fashion bloggers have high credibility and thus facilitate the flow of consumer information and choice. The blogs present a combination of private and commercial content, thereby creating a customer intimacy that differentiates them from more traditional market channels. The value of these relationships is appropriated partly through advertisements and partly from other sources of revenue, such as the creation of brands and online stores. Bloggers have become powerful intermediaries who often have a better contact with end consumers than fashion firms. This paper therefore suggests that management of the blogosphere is an emerging source of competitive advantage for fashion firms. — Full Article Abstract 

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