Annamari Vänskä (Aalto University, Finland). Digital Disruption of Fashion: Fashion Influencers as Digital Workers in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The proposed paper examines digital disruption of fashion mediation from the perspective of the ‘fashion influencer’. The figure of the fashion influencer represents the tension between digitalization, data-driven media, and intimacy as a resource of the ‘new digital worker’. The paper is part of a larger research project investigating aspects of work practices increasingly organized through digital devices and applications that extend ‘intimacy’ to the infrastructural roles that digital technologies play in the functionality of the occupational lives of the ‘fashion influencers’. The material of the paper is based on the on-going ethnographic research on the most-followed Finnish fashion influencers. Through focus group discussions conducted prior and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the paper invites discussion on the changing notions of fashion mediation, work and intimacy, the precariousness of digital work, and vulnerabilities it gives rise to. Furthermore, the paper also discusses survival strategies adopted by some fashion influencers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Annamari Vänskä>>