Research Output
Reproducing the Fashion System: The Myth of the Influencer
  Previous work in marketing has shown that the social media influencer plays an important role in attracting consumers to brands (Kapitan and Silvera 2016). The fashion ‘influencer’ appears in a number of consumer research studies that seek to understand how individuals shape and negotiate market dynamics (Dolbec and Fischer 2015) whether that be in terms of emerging within the established fashion field through amassing audience reach (McQuarrie et al 2013), establishing relatable person-branding (Delisle and Parmentier 2016; Khamis et al 2016), creating a counter space within the market to incorporate an un-catered for consumer group (Scaraboto and Fischer, 2013), bringing attention to the brand by acting as ‘microcelebrities’ (Luvaas 2017; Marwick 2013; Senft 2013), or by forming careers and becoming central actors in the fashion system (Abidin 2016; Duffy 2015).
While these processes highlight and work to legitimize the brand and actors themselves within the fashion system, they often do not directly acknowledge the role played by the fashion system itself in sustaining the idea and logic of the fashion ‘influencer’.
This paper takes an institutional approach (Scaraboto and Fischer 2013) to explore the influencer phenomenon and approaches fashion not as a material item, but as an idea (sustained by the continuous construction of ‘fashion’ in an institutionalised system) (Kawamura 2004). In this project, through ethnographic online techniques, we seek to understand and unpack what we perceive to be the ‘myth of the influencer’.

  • Date:

    01 July 2018

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HM621 Culture

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    306 Culture & institutions

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Logan-McFarlane, A., & Samsioe, E. (2018). Reproducing the Fashion System: The Myth of the Influencer



fashion; influencers; consumer culture; marketing; social media; market dynamics

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