(Waiting for) Theorizing the Web

25 09 2012


Sellers of Experience. The New Face of Fashion Retail

21 09 2011

Update (May 2013): the full article is finally out in “From Production to Consumption: The Cultural Industry of Fashion“, edited by Marco Pedroni, Interdisciplinary Press, Oxford, 2013. The one published below is just a speech and, as such, it contains a provisional and simplified version of my thought about fashion retail that can’t be quoted as a scientific work.


Back to Oxford once again, this year – at the 3rd Global Conference on Fashion organized by ID.net – I’m going to present a paper by the name of “Sellers of Experience. The New Face of Fashion Retail”. On Saturday 24th September, to be exact.

This study was performed to analyze the evolution of fashion retail, showing how the category of ‘experience’ affects the distribution channels in the field of fashion. So, I am going to open a window on terms such as ‘factory outlet centres’, ‘concept stores’, ‘pop-up retail’ and so on. My aim is to underline that these categories are not just a matter that concerns marketers and retailers, but a phenomenon that allows us to read the evolution of the consumers’ mentality.

The draft paper has been already published on the ID.net website and it is rich of examples I probably won’t be able to comment now – not all, at least. All these examples come from an activity of observation and documentation carried out with my students of the Master course in Fashion & Design Retail, inside the Milano Fashion Institute. Italy was of course the main field of observation, but also other European countries have provided examples and case studies. I would like, in the next few months, to expand my research considering also non-Western countries.

Let’s start with a statement that many scholars agree with: What is fashion? Fashion is something about changing and creating. Both actions concern the production or renovation of products, but also new ways to sell them. In recent times, the categories of periodicity and obsolescence have spread from fashion production to fashion distribution, turning the retail spaces into something that requires a continuous rethinking in order to fulfill the desires of the consumers.

Fashion retail is nowadays not just a mechanism through which the clothes reach the consumers, but a key tool for creating the brand image. This need has been translated into a wide range of distribution options.

How can we categorize and summarize these retail options?

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From fashion forecasting to coolhunting… in Oxford

20 09 2010

On the 25th of September I’ll join as a speaker the 2nd Global Conference on Fashion, held in Oxford in the second half of this week. My speech will be focused on the shift from fashion forecasting to coolhunting and it has been published here.

This is, more or less, what I’m going to say…

When I have read the word coolhunting for the first time, some years ago, I was immediately attracted by the idea of a job that consists in looking for cool ideas and cool people all around the world. But, as sociologist, I was totally unsatisfied with the stereotyped accounts of the coolhunter that you could find in newspapers and magazines.

On the one hand, journalists and essayists have often described coolhunting as the work of a young man, or woman, travelling the world with a digital camera, searching for cool images to send to a company or research agency. A marvellous job based on curiosity and intuition, carried out in the most fashionable cities of the planet.

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Symbolic violence against women

28 08 2010

Violence against woman in Italy is a topic that I discussed many times in this blog (for example here). This is a gloomy update. In the first picture, you’ll see an elegant ad (having been recalled) promoting solar panels.

Here, a fashion ad with vegetarian inspiration (interested in the creative idea? click here).

Right, we don’t have to be too serious: but why the male representation comes off better than the female one?

From photovoltaic to fashion, trivial ads are presented as being ironic. But also irony is a weapon with a hangman and a victim. Subtle consequence of the symbolic violence: maybe the victim doesn’t laugh as the hangman would expect.


5 08 2010






Da trickle-up a trickle-down, da coolfarming a cult searching… ecco un glossario dei termini che spesso ricorrono nei discorsi sul coolhunting. QUI

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