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The fashion scandal: Social media, identity and the globalization of fashion in the twenty-first century

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During the latter part of the 2010s, many fashion brands ‐ e.g., Gucci, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Dior ‐ have been caught up with scandals and called out for racism, cultural appropriation and other types of insensitivity towards vulnerable groups. This article will unpack, through critical analysis of some of these examples, the changing landscape of the ‘fashion scandal’ in the late-2010s. We understand fashion scandals as the fuel of fashion. They are debated in social media and they are controversial actions, statements or events that cause strong emotional responses. Even though scandal has been proven effective in fashion marketing for decades, and despite it is still frequently used, there might be a change on the way. Our examples suggest that with the rise of social media and its so-called ‘citizen journalism’ the tactics of creating scandals may have lost their lustre and can easily turn against the brand. We will also discuss new tactics that brands have adopted to escape undesired scandals by establishing new roles such as the ‘diversity consultant’.

Keywords: diversity; fashion brands; fashion scandal; globalization of fashion; identity; racism; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000108389418Aalto University, Finland 2: 000000010742471XAalborg University, Denmark

Publication date: April 1, 2022

This article was made available online on June 30, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "The fashion scandal: Social media, identity and the globalization of fashion in the twenty-first century".

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  • The International Journal of Fashion Studies is a scientific peer-reviewed journal that fosters the worldwide diffusion of Fashion Studies. Fashion Studies is an interdisciplinary field of research that has been producing an extensive repertoire of theories, analyses and enquiries.
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