A quantitative research analysis by Monica Ioana Lungeanu
This qualitative content research project looks at the behavior of Romanian fashion bloggers on Instagram. For a large part this consists of the collaboration and establishment of fashion partnerships through a continuous process of tagging one another, as well as creating genuine, authentic content which differentiates fashion bloggers from fashion professionals. The research looks at 13 Romanian fashion bloggers’ activity on their Instagram feeds and stories (treated as two distinctive channels) over a period of two months (March and April 2017). The results present the preferred categories for Instagram posts, as well as trends and recurrences across Romanian fashion blogs.
Based on research developed by marketer Klaus-Peter Wiedmann, social media researcher Alice Marwick and sociologist Agnès Rocamora, I have created an adapted list of criteria to apply to the Romanian fashionsphere in selecting 13 ‘successful’ fashion bloggers (successful according to my personal interpretation of their activity).
One of my main observations consists of the fact that the fashion bloggers have a very different attitude and style of posting on their Instagram feeds versus Instagram stories. The distinct analysis of those two types of postings has shown some interesting results. Feed postings vary in over 20 categories, while the story seems to be limited to 4 main types of content. As far as the Instagram feed is concerned, fashion bloggers focus on photos of their Outfits and of Inter-Collaborations with brands or other fashion bloggers.
The writer of the Generation Like documentary, Frank Koughan, noticed that bloggers use one another to build larger communities and to encourage followers to expand their interests (2014). By tagging each other in photos, fashion bloggers increase each other’s visibility, whether this is through a a group photo, or simply referencing someone else in a post. Disregarding the independence and competition of the international online fashion environment, Romanian fashion bloggers seem to care about building a sense of community and unity with other bloggers. Collaborations are also frequent amongst fashion bloggers and brands, with the observation that fashion bloggers have a couple of preferred brands frequently tagged in their posts.
Furthermore, some of the fashion bloggers have gone so far as crossing the border of their mainstream fashion tone and try to reach more niche audiences belonging to alternative subcultures, either by collaborating with a well-established member or by including elements of alternative culture in their postings.
If it was only for their feed, fashion bloggers might be limited to the image of a fashion professional, thus restricting interactions with their followers, as well as losing the trust of their public. Romanian fashion bloggers prove their authenticity and genuineness through their Instagram stories, containing Silly and Behind the Scenes posts. In this way, fashion bloggers differentiate themselves from official brands and show their followers that they are normal people just like them. Marwick states that fashion blogs should not aim for perfection, which is associated with corporations and distrusted by the audience.
In respect to this research, I have identified some key characteristics of a ‘successful’ Romanian fashion blogger. In the future, I plan on strengthening this analysis by conducting in-depth interviews with the subjects, taking a closer look at the audience’s preferences and engagement with the fashion bloggers, comparing the Romanian fashionsphere with the international one, and include the results of Romania’s most relevant fashion award ceremony, Digital Divas – which nominated most of the fashion bloggers I have identified for my research.
Keywords: Fashion blogger, opinion leader, Instagram,
Romanian fashionsphere, tagging, authenticity
Koughan, F. & Rushkoff, D. (Writers). (2014, February 18). Generation Like [Documentary]. United States: Frontline. Retrieved March 5, 2017, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/.
Marvick, Alice. (2013). They’re Really Profound Women, ‘They’re Entrepreneurs’: Conceptions of Authenticity in Fashion Blogging. International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM).
Rocamora, A. (2012). Hypertextuality And Remediation In The Fashion Media. Journalism Practice, 6(1), 92-106. DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2011.622914.
Wiedmann, K-P., Henning, N. & Langner, S. (2010). Spreading the Word of Fashion: Identifying Social Influencers in Fashion Marketing. Journal of Global Fashion Marketing: Bridging Fashion and Marketing, 1(3), 142-153. DOI: 10.1080/20932685.2010.10593066.
About the Author
My name is Monica Ioana Lungeanu and I am a Romanian who, in the past three years, has greatly expanded her horizons, both academically and personally, through a genuine passion of acquiring new information. The above described research combines my fascination for the digital environment (and social media) with modern manifestations of Romania’s visual culture. I have just finished my junior year at John Cabot University (majoring in Communications and minoring in Marketing), after one semester done abroad in Leiden, Holland. My future plans include another semester abroad in Sydney, Australia, which will allow me to first-handedly engage with such a peculiar culture. I am enthusiastic about different subjects, from media studies to experimental movies to marketing analysis, but I believe I will continue my academic path with a Visual Brand Design Master in Milano after I graduate from JCU. My greatest passion is correlated to visual arts, in any and all forms: so far I have studied interior architecture, interpreted media content and analyzed marketing campaigns (in both written and video format – as a young, developing video artist). I hope to continue decoding visual material, as well as encode my own forthcoming work. For further discussions, please contact me at mlungeanu [at] johncabot [dot] edu