Research articles

Research articles

Authors: Pedro Mir-Bernal, Simone Guercini and Catherine Prentice

Year: 2018

This paper introduces a special issue devoted to the emergence of new marketing models and tools within a fashion e-commerce context. Despite the importance of physical stores, in recent years, we have witnessed substantial development regarding the electronic trade in fashion products. In effect, fashion products represent a major category within e-commerce and have witnessed the development of a “new” form of online marketing. Special attention should be paid to the internationalization of e-commerce within the fashion industry. New models and tools have emerged in relation to: the technology/ consumption interface and the strategies of the different players within the business sector; the integration of online and offline fashion marketing; the impact of new IT technologies and new marketing on preexisting fashion marketing policies, such as customization; and the role of new emerging players such as fashion bloggers and influencers. In this period of change, new and traditional marketing tools co-exist. The five articles in this special issue seek to contribute to research whose aim is to systemize new models and tools that may be useful for practitioners and marketing researchers working in this field.

Quality of Service in retail

Authors: Pedro Mir-Bernal, Jacqueline Vidal

Year: 2017

A happy couple is having their wedding at a beach resort on an island near the coast of Venezuela. After the wedding party, the customers take their things from their rooms and ask for the key to the honeymoon suite they have reserved. The receptionist tells them that they have no reservation for the room and that it is not available. The groom asks for a different suite at the resort’s expense since someone failed to make their reservation correctly. How should the resort management handle the issue?

Authors: Pedro Mir-Bernal, María Gracía Accini Moran

Year: 2017

Rosa, a wealthy young woman, planned an elaborate celebration for her twenty-first birthday. She planned a weekend of activities for her friends in Barcelona, rented a beautiful house next to the beach, booked an expensive restaurant dinner, and for the end of the night made a reservation and paid a deposit for a private party at the most upscale bar in Barcelona. Everything went smoothly until a bouncer at the bar ruined her night.

Authors: Pedro Mir-Bernal, Rouxelle de Villiers, Po-Ju Chen, Linda Coleman, Tung-Cheng (TC) Huan, Arch G. Woodside

Year: 2017

This special issue includes 27 customer experience (CX) trade tales as told in the words of real shoppers and customers. Some tales are of dilemmas and cognitive dissonance, whilst others share their elation at receiving the value, satisfaction, and respect they felt they deserved. When reading these accounts, you are likely to agree that there is much more to consumers’ everyday buying decisions and experiences than what meets the eye of the customer care officer, the representative or business owner (collectively called marketers here) at first glance. The emotive language and illustrative narratives emphasize the affective, intellectual, emotional, and social impact of good and bad responses by organizations to interactions with customers. You will quickly notice how positivelyinclined customers can turn from highly impressed, excited and actively engaged clients, to negatively valanced antagonists, defending their point of view, or (in sharp contrast) respond to a sales interaction with passive aggressive behaviour. Surface to deep assessment follow each trade tale. Many of the tales are useful materials for creating emotional and insightful learning dramas for improving empathy and communication skills of those among us who interact with customers.

Authors: Pedro Mir-Bernal, Teresa Sádaba, Simone Guercini.

Year: 2017

The aim of this paper is to analyze the role that e-commerce has to play in the internationalization of Spanish luxury multi-brand stores. Possible answers are sought to the following research question: How might the adoption of e-commerce platforms affect the international sales of multi-brand retailers? This paper presents a data analysis of the 15 most important Spanish fashion multi-brand retailers and the different prospects of e-commerce today. Our analysis of online stores shows an open mentality when it comes to adapting to this new business model, but the late integration and inexperience of the majority of retailers limit their performance. Information from different channels and further research through the collaboration of brands would have given us more detailed information regarding the current situation within this sector. The paper analyzes the current situation of e-commerce luxury fashion multi-brand stores and mainly focuses on the Spanish market, even though it also offers a global overview.

Authors: Patricia SanMiguel, Teresa Sádaba, Sandra Bravo.

Year: 2017

This article analyzes the role of personal communication and opinion leaders in the dissemination of fashion trends; where the increase in the collections of clothing made by brands, the democratization of fashion and the growing role of the ‘street’ to dictate trends raise the need to better understand these diffusion processes. An analysis is made of the different scientific contributions in the field of the dissemination of innovations and research around opinion leadership and personal influence. The analysis identifies the rise of personal communication and opinion leaders, the processes of dissemination of fashion trends-ranging from imitation between social classes to viral propagation-and opinion leadership and personal influence in fashion. This work highlights the fundamental role that opinion leaders exercise, through personal communication, so that a fashion trend is adopted or rejected by consumers.

Authors: Marco Pedroni, Patricia SanMiguel, Teresa Sádaba.

Year: 2017

Is the golden era of fashion blogging over? In more than a decade after their first appearance fashion blogs have established themselves as a constant element on the fashion scene, but in many aspects, they have not yet found a definitive position in the field of fashion media, at least in terms of legitimization. Blogs have been often celebrated as instruments for the democratization of fashion, able at the same time to reduce the distance between «the establishment» and ordinary fashion lovers and to push young and unknown outsiders toward the centre of the fashion system; on the other side they have been opposed – at least at the beginning – both by fashion journalists and companies, the former looking at blogging as an unprofessional practice that threatens to destroy the quality of the fashion-related tales, the latter displaced in front of the new ‘fashionable’ practice of inviting bloggers to catwalks and using them as testimonials. 
The arguments made in this chapter are based on quantitative and qualitative research carried out in Italy and Spain. Through a desk analysis  of the twenty most popular blogs (ten for each country), according to the ranking provided by Le Guide Noir, we investigated the features of the bloggers with the highest level of visibility and they activity on the social media, as some recent studies points out (Sádaba and SanMiguel, 2016). It must be remembered that, even if we label them as bloggers, they manage a structured communication strategy whose blogs are just a piece together with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest accounts, and so forth. We also recruited a snowball sample of 62 bloggers who were interviewed with qualitative techniques. The Italian sample includes 42 interviewees (11 male, 31 female); testimonies are based on a non-directive method («life- story approach», see Bertaux 1981) and have been collected between 2011 and 2015. The Spanish branch of the study relies on semi-structured interviews to 20 bloggers (3 male, 17 female) collected between 2014 and 2015 .

Authors: Frances Pujol, Teresa Sádaba, Patricia SanMiguel

Year: 2016

The Digital Impact Study of Fashion and Luxury Brands 2016 is a comparative analysis of 120 fashion brands and their behavior in the online world that allows to:
– Analyze the behavior of 120 fashion brands: strengths and weaknesses in their digital strategies.
– Establish a comparative analysis of each brand with respect to its competitors.
– Identify fashion trends that are created and disseminated from social networks through the analysis of published content.
– Know the positioning of Spanish brands in a digital environment without borders.
– Know the positioning of international firms in the Spanish market.
– Learn from the best digital behavior practices.
– Help in making decisions about digital marketing strategies.

Authors: Teresa Sádaba, Patricia SanMiguel.

Year: 2016

Little but increasing research has been done about the influence of blogs in the consumer decision- making process. This paper tries to shed some light on this new scenario, analyzing how bloggers are now a key player in the fashion industry, and explaining how they create a closer and more qualified relationship with customers, so they can be more influential. Based on a case study, and considering different approaches to bloggers influence, this article makes it clear that measuring the engagement between bloggers and readers is significant for brands and their marketing strategies with bloggers. 

Authors: Teresa Sádaba, Patricia SanMiguel.

Year: 2016

Since Paul Lazarsfeld’s study on the influentials, carried out in the forties, research on opinion leaders have been developed mainly in the political field. Nevertheless, in his studies, Lazarsfeld focused his attention on other areas such as fashion.
Lazarsfeld identified influentials as those people with a “leadership almost invisible and certainly unconscious, face to face; close, informal and daily”, being able to influence in their relatives’ voting and purchasing decisions. These opinion leaders’ or influentials prescribing ability was and is today very powerful and of great interest for its study.
Clearly, the influence of the Internet in society has changed the way we communicate, interact and consume. In the fashion area, a research study about the influentials after the advent of the Internet has not been done yet. As a consequence, the main goal of this research is to fulfill this de cadency by providing data of the in influentials in fashion, in the Spanish case.

Authors: Teresa Sádaba, Patricia SanMiguel.

Year: 2016

On 24 April 2013 at 9 o’clock in the morning local time, the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka collapsed. This factory produced clothing for 29 different fashion brands. The final casualty figures came to 1,129 dead and 2,515 injured. The Rana Plaza case is the worst accident in the history of fashion manufacturing. The management of the crisis on the part of the individual brands was extremely diverse and led them towards different communications scenarios. However, another crisis emerged at that moment: the industry itself and its manufacturing methods were effectively called into question. In fact, this issue has continued to be controversial and has led to an interesting public debate.
Through the case analyzed here, this paper seeks to meet three objectives: a) stress the importance of communication with regard to the management of the crisis; b) highlight the link between crisis communication and corporate social responsibility; c) focus attention on the fashion industry, where intangible values acquire considerable importance and, therefore, are especially affected by crises.
The events at Rana Plaza raise different questions that pose a challenge regarding crisis communication, given that we are dealing with an industry-wide crisis featuring multiple voices and multiple reactions.

Authors: Pablo Foncillas, Patricia SanMiguel.

Year: 2015

In this chapter the keys of the 6 steps to take into account to develop a good e-commerce are addressed, therefore it is not intended to make an exhaustive analysis, but rather to evaluate and develop the appropriate strategic changes in your company.

If the e-commerce was a music we must be aware that it is totally new and that therefore we must learn to dance in another way. That implies that we understand, at least, six pieces that provided the keys to take advantage of the advantages offered by this new form of transaction. Following the musical simile these parts are related to: the stage in which we dance (the context), the audience (the clients), the types of dance (e-commerce typologies), the dance technique (the essential steps of the e-commerce), the disc jockey (board of directors) and the coach (steering committee). That is, the dimensions of the human profile and the technical dimensions.

Authors: Teresa Sádaba, Patricia SanMiguel.

Year: 2015

When we talk about communication and fashion, we talk about incluence. With communication, the mechanisms of imitation and influence that foster this phenomenon we call fashion are activated. Imitation, as an effort to resemble others, and influence, as a capacity for prescription, are the fundamental axes of public opinion. And both, imitation and influence, are also the foundations of fashion. Behind the success of the Converse shoes, the Bomber jackets or the beard or mustache being fashionable, there is a whole history of imitation and prescription. For fashion, the advantage today, is that in our new technological environment, it is not only the media who have that ability to create climates of opinion, but individuals who from their tablets or phones, are able to generate social climates through of their influence networks.

Authors: Patricia SanMiguel, Teresa Sádaba, Marco Pedroni.

Year: 2016

After ignoring the rise of fashion bloggers as new actors in the fashion scene, over the last few years a number of contributions have explored this topic (Rocamora, 2011,  2012, 2013; see also Berry 2012; Chittendon 2010; Connell 2013; Kretz 2010; Lewis  2013; Rocamora and Bartlett 2009; Pedroni, 2014; Sádaba and SanMiguel, 2014;  Mora and Rocamora, 2015; Findlay, 2015). These works analyse the role of fashion blogs, their legitimation in the field of fashion media and their influence on the  consumer decision-making process.  Also, in previous works of the same research team, the evolution and categorization of the fashion bloggers has been analysed to conclude that blogs have gained a more institutionalized and normalized role in the field of fashion. Despite the presence of many aspirational bloggers, the field has left its “innocent stage” and become highlyprofessionalised and institutionalised, but there are significant differences by  countries.  In this paper, we aim at going further with the analysis of the field of fashion blogging and its evolution. It is discussed how the process of professionalization is taking place, by considering bloggers’ relationship with brands, the transformations of blogs  towards a business model, together with bloggers’ view of the future. Differences among countries are also analysed.  The methodological approach is twofold: a comparative analysis between Spain and Italy is carried out through a both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The results of a survey (220 participants, 110 in each country) and 88 qualitative interviews to both  Spanish and Italian fashion bloggers are discussed.  Findings will contribute to understand the process of professionalization of fashion  bloggers and to conclude that the “golden era” of fashion blogging (a mythical period  of prosperity and abundance) is over, even if the scenario varies by country. After the emergence of fashion bloggers, a more institutionalized social field has emerged and it  works as a part of the contemporary fashion system.

Authors: Patricia SanMiguel, Teresa Sádaba, Marco Pedroni.

Year: 2016

The impact of the Internet on society has clearly changed the way we communicate, interact and consume. In the communication and marketing area institutional agents like companies try to find the best way to reach their consumers in the online scenario, but outsiders (such as fashion bloggers) are often able to achieve significant results by using Web 2.0-based tools and innovating the language of fashion communication.
Since the 1990s several studies have shown that marketing based on opinion leaders (Influentials/influencers) is one of the most successful strategies (Mowen, 1990; Weimann, 1994; Keller & Berry, 2003). Which are the personal characteristics of these leaders in fashion? Are fashion bloggers the new influencers? How do they interact with readers and brands? How do these leaders work in the Mediterranean Europe? 
This paper explores these issues through a comparison between the Italian and Spanish fields of fashion blogging, where the rise of these new opinion leaders has begun later than in the Anglo-Saxon world, presenting the first Fashion Influentials comparative study between two countries. The study is made of two sections: first, an opinion leadership questionnaire (sample: 200 bloggers, 100 for each country); second, a desk analysis of the twenty most popular blogs (ten for each country) with the highest level of visibility and their activity on the social media. 
Findings show the profile of influential fashion blogger (personal characteristics, knowledge criteria and social factors) and the way they interact with their community and fashion companies. From an interpretative point of view the paper (second in a series of comparative studies realized by the authors) aims at discussing fashion blogging as a social field able to change the way the whole system of fashion communication works.

Authors: Teresa Sádaba and Patricia SanMiguel

Year: 2014

The research on opinion leadership has traditionally been dealt with by political communication since Paul Lazarsfeld inaugurated the study on influential people. However, Lazarsfeld also investigated the influence in the area of fashion. The prescription capacity of these influencers is a very relevant issue for fashion brands and focuses the interest of this study. It is also the first study carried out on influence in fashion taking into account the advances that the appearance of the Internet allows in this area.

Authors: María Eugenia Josa Martínez and  Carlos Naya

Year: 2016

In the middle of the 50s, there was a sway in Spain of modernization of the forms that allowed to update the image of the country. This renovation was promoted by the Spanish official instances that were positioned in favor of a new design and a new architecture that would be able to compete with foreign creations. In the midst of a debate on the integration of the plastic arts and architecture, that modernization called for collaboration between architects, artists and even companies, which would work as a team to transform both the keys of design objects and works of Spanish architecture, such as business strategies and corporate image.

In the future communication, Carvajal’s work for Loewe will be analyzed as an example of brand image creation and commercial design, addressing the project of the Serrano store through its architecture. This is intended, on the one hand, to value the role of the work of Javier Carvajal in this business area, and secondly, to reflect on this issue to provide new ideas applicable to other cases at present. For this, the bibliographical sources of that moment will be consulted -the Spanish journals of architecture New form, Architecture and Home and architecture- as well as, the specific bibliography of the research field -doctoral theories, exhibition catalogs, monographs and articles.

Authors: María Eugenia Josa Martínez and María Villanueva Fernández

Year: 2014

The essence of fashion is the constant renewal of its forms, but at times, the relevance of tradition in the fashion industry can be forgotten. However, the past is unavoidable, and in many cases tradition has become the fundamental element of the modernization of the brand and even the key to its success. In order to show the importance of tradition in terms of modernity, the following paper will address the case study of Loewe as an example of this phenomenon. Loewe launched a project to modernize the brand to project a corporate identity related to the prestige, exclusivity and uniqueness and materialized through craft production methods and carefully designed. For this project the firm counted on the architect Javier Carvajal and the artist Vicente Vela, who designed a new look for the stores, the brand and the product, providing a renewed vision of Loewe. This turn toward modernity was based on the analysis and the application of the qualities of the Spanish tradition and craft, from that moment will become part of the identity of the firm. 
By the end of 2013 Jonathan Anderson arrived at Loewe, as the new Creative Director, he gave a fresh take on the brand based on its history, by returning it to its origins. Jonathan is inspired by the most brilliant period of Loewe, which he considers the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. This new project is promoting a new change, reinventing a legacy of 168 years of craftsmanship and innovation.

Authors: María Eugenia Josa Martínez and María Villanueva Fernández

Year: 2014

The constant renewal of its image is part of the intrinsic essence of fashion itself. Which is not possible without having present the previous state, the past or, in other words, the tradition. So, in many cases, this tradition has become the fundamental element for the modernization of the identity of the brand and even the key to its success. In order to show how tradition influences the evolution of the brand image, the future communication aims to study Loewe’s case as an example of this phenomenon. This paper addresses this issue through the analysis of the evolution of Loewe’s image, relating the period that began in 1956 – when the process of renewal of the signature towards modernity began with Javier Carvajal and Vicente Vela, among others – and the current moment – in which he is committed to the recovery of that brilliant stage with Jonathan Anderson as creative director.

This research reveals the importance of tradition in the evolution of the brand’s image, analyzing the three planes of design through which the renovation of Loewe takes place: its stores, its logo and its products. In this way, this work will shed light on the value of tradition in the image of fashion businesses, in order to provide new ideas applicable to other current cases.

Authors: María Eugenia Josa and Diego Vega

Year: 2016

Photography, in the 50s, attains the greatest importance in the diffusion of the image to the whole world. It will be responsible for making the image arrive where static architecture does not arrive to remain in the memory of who was never in it. Photography will become important linked to the magazine, in which it will multiply to be seen and seen again. Carvajal, in his eagerness to project a new image of Loewe knew that it was essential to have the photography and the media of that time to advertise their stores. In this way, the choice of the architect when choosing the means in which the projects were to be published, represented an important qualitative leap for the firm.
In this work, the importance of photography as part of the renewal of Loewe’s image will be addressed. The relevance of the work of Francesc Catalá Roca and Elías Dolcet will be shown by analyzing their photographs and disseminating them. In this way, the present study will shed light on the value of the tradition of the image of fashion businesses, in order to provide new ideas applicable to other current cases.

Authors: María Eugenia Josa Martínez and María Villanueva Fernández

Year: 2016

The paper addresses Loewe’s image renewal based on the modernization of tradition as a luxury strategy, through the analysis of one commercial space designed by Carvajal: the Loewe Serrano Street store. Carvajal fused traditional craftsmanship with new modern forms referencing the work of architects and designers from northern Europe.  This research shows the Nordic influences in this project through the study of three technical aspects: form-space, materials and design. 
These issues have been analyzed by comparing the work of Carvajal with the work of architects and designers such as Alvar Aalto Nordic, Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner or Gunnar Asplund. Numerous similarities have been found such as curved spaces, the use of wood, similar forms applied to different designs… These common parameters show the real influence between Nordic architecture and Loewe spaces.
In addition, the consultation of the personal archive of the architect Javier Carvajal, as well as, the bibliographical sources of that moment —Spanish magazines Nueva forma, Arquitectura and Hogar y arquitectura— and other specific references of the research field —exhibition catalogs and monographies— is conducted. By doing so, this paper demonstrates how merging tradition with modern forms provided an image of exclusivity, luxury and innovation to Loewe, something the brand is recovering today.

Authors: Amalia Descalzo Lorenzo

Year: 2014

All the creations we call “dresses” have been materialized with textiles or materials suitable to adapt to the natural forms of the human body. Tailors, fashion designers, and designers have been aware of the importance of the materials with which they worked to execute their ideas. Our study emphasizes the importance that the great designer Balenciaga granted to the fabrics, natural or artificial, to the point of saying that “the fabric is the one that commands”. Through this work we analyze the most innovative silhouettes of the work of the designer as well as the materials he chose for its realization. The study has focused mainly on the decade of the 50s and 60s until its withdrawal from the world of fashion, it was in these years in which Balenciaga created the most innovative lines of his career while laying the foundations of what would be the dress and the fashion after him.

Author: Verónica Arribas and Isabel García

Year: 2014

In this article what is intend is to analyze some ethical aspects related specifically to the fashion sector. With this objective, we will analyze the strategy and management style of an entrepreneur in the “youth clothing” market: Abercrombie & Fitch (A & F). This company has been chosen as study case for numerous and controversial reactions that its brand policy has aroused in recent years. The structure to be followed consists of two parts. In the first place, a biographical review is made about the concept of business ethics, trying to identify those exports that are relevant for the fashion industry. And secondly, the case of the A & F company will be analyzed as an empirical support of ideas contributed in the first part. Finally, a series of questions are posed that leave open a possible debate in the thread of all the exposed.In 1872 the German artisan Enrique Loewe Roessberg arrived in Madrid, attracted by the process of expansion that Spain was experiencing at that time. At the same time that his business in the leather sector was evolving, Enrique Loewe was occupying different premises that he would use as workshops, exhibition areas and commercial premises1. From the beginning, architecture became one of the main tools to strengthen the company and to approach a distinguished clientele, among which the kings Don Alfonso de Borbón and Doña Victoria Eugenia II. The exquisite social sector at that the firm was directed to constantly improve its commercial space. In 1939, Loewe inaugurated the emblematic store located in the central Gran Vía nº8. This store was designed by the architect Francisco Ferrer Bartolomé III, who one year later would also be responsible for the project of the store located on Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona4. In addition, those spaces were adapted to the high quality of the product offered by the firm, made with the best materials, an aspect that had given him fame since his birth5. It was a type of design anchored in a classicism that was not altered by the new trends of the time. However, from 1956 that formal address of the company gave a significant shift, changing its course towards modernity. In this task, the collaboration of the company with other professionals, such as the architect Javier Carvajal and the artist VicenteVela, acquired special importance for Loewe, who designed a Spanish commercial image project for Loewe. 

Authors: María Eugenia Josa and María Villanueva

Year: 2014

In 1872 the German artisan Enrique Loewe Roessberg arrived in Madrid, attracted by the process of expansion that Spain was experiencing at that time. At the same time that his business in the leather sector was evolving, Enrique Loewe was occupying different premises that he would use as workshops, exhibition areas and commercial premises1. From the beginning, architecture became one of the main tools to strengthen the company and to approach a distinguished clientele, among which the kings Don Alfonso de Borbón and Doña Victoria Eugenia II. The exquisite social sector at that the firm was directed to constantly improve its commercial space. In 1939, Loewe inaugurated the emblematic store located in the central Gran Vía nº8. This store was designed by the architect Francisco Ferrer Bartolomé III, who one year later would also be responsible for the project of the store located on Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona4. In addition, those spaces were adapted to the high quality of the product offered by the firm, made with the best materials, an aspect that had given him fame since his birth5. It was a type of design anchored in a classicism that was not altered by the new trends of the time. However, from 1956 that formal address of the company gave a significant shift, changing its course towards modernity. In this task, the collaboration of the company with other professionals, such as the architect Javier Carvajal and the artist VicenteVela, acquired special importance for Loewe, who designed a Spanish commercial image project for Loewe.

Authors: Teresa Sádaba and Patricia San Miguel

Year: 2014

In recent years, issues related to sustainability and ethical behavior in the field of fashion have begun to be studied from a critical perspective (Emberley, 1998, Moisander and Personen, 2002). With the emergence of the “Fast Fashion” model, the production and distribution of fashion has changed their style and needs low cost manufacturing tools that are mainly found in developing countries. In these countries, issues related to working conditions and the environment of large-scale industry workers give rise to relevant ethical issues (Aspers and Skov, 2006). In this context, crisis and their communication are decisive for the reputation. Although there has been a great deal of depth in the knowledge of crisis management (Pearson and Clair, 1998), in light of the actions analyzed, the consequences that such management can have on brands can be observed. This work will focus its analysis on the crisis experienced in Bangladesh in April 2013 and how the responses of the different fashion companies take place. In this way, issues of relevance for reflection are raised, and above all, for future actions.

Authors: Verónica Arribas, Teresa Díaz, María Eugenia Josa, Patricia Sanmiguel, Teresa Sádaba

Year: 2013

Resumen: Hoss Intropia is one of the Spain‟s largest fashion brands and th e first one that since its birth aims to generate the lowest possible impact in society and environment. Sustainability in the fashion industry has become a widely discussed issue. The fast fashion brands contribute to this matter. It is widely accepted th at the fashion industry needs new attitudes towards ethical and environmental practices. In this paper we will try to investigate the case study of susta inability in the brand strategy. Hoss Intropia was created in 1994, has presence in 48 countries with 1 600 points of sale. We consider that nowadays this Spa nish brand is a good example not only for new trends in branding but also in the way they are influenced by this matter within all the business activities. This case study takes us to be able to offer s ome conclusions extendable to o ther brands and highlights the role of sustainability as a strategy goal.

Authors: Teresa Sádaba and Patricia Sanmiguel

Year: 2013

Since Paul Lazarsfeld’s pioneering study of influentials in the 1940s, research into opinion leaders has focused primarily on the field of politics. However, Lazarsfeld himself addressed a number of other areas, including fashion. Lazarsfeld defined influentials as people who exercise an “almost invisible, certainly inconspicuous form of leadership, at the person-to-person level of ordinary, intimate, informal, everyday contact”, and who are able to influence the voting and purchasing decisions taken by their relatives, friends and acquaintances. The prescriptive power of such opinion leaders or influentials remains prevalent nowadays, and is of acute relevance to the overall purpose of this paper. The impact of the Internet on society has clearly changed the way we communicate, interact and consume. No research into the role of influentials in the fashion sector since the advent of the Internet has yet been carried out. Thus, the primary objective of the study presented here is to meet this research need by drawing on data relating to influentials in the Spanish fashion sector.