New Forms of Status via Curation in the Sharing Economy: Unravelling the Seams of Peer-to-Peer Fashion Rentals
Our study examines the relationship between the fashion industry and the sharing economy, specifically peer-to-peer fashion rentals curated and styled by social media influencers. In addition to clothing rentals, styling platforms provide curation and taste for the consumer, a form of field-specific cultural capital (Rocamora 2002).
New forms of status and exclusivity have manifested online through these platforms with online influencers at the helm. We conduct an ethnography of three of the leading fashion rental platforms, all based in London.
Our research has the potential to positively impact the scholarly community, economy, and society. This provides important implications for sharing economy platform brands, allowing for new ways to imbue status via sustainability claims. The sharing economy has not brought about the positive sustainability and social benefits that were hoped for (Schor 2020), however the role curation plays has the potential to transform access platforms to deliver on pro-social outcomes.
Instagram account: @the_fashion_rental_project
King's Business School Incubator Fund: £10,000
In this project, we will thus study, develop new theory, and provide practitioner tools based on this emerging personal style phenomenon rooted in the sharing economy. This has important implications for the development of sharing economy platforms in the future as well as fundamental shifts in consumer behavior that have not been fully explored to date.
From a methodological perspective, we will be employing a qualitative approach. Given that we want to access the consumer experience using fashion focused access platforms, we adopt an ethnographic approach (Humphreys and Carpenter 2018; Huff, Humphreys and Wilner 2021). We focus on three British peer-to-peer clothing rental platforms, and engage in netnographic and ethnographic immersion with all three platforms, focusing on both the brands themselves as well as the consumers using them. This will allow us to understand the emerging status dynamics from an emic perspective (Geertz 1975).
In this project, we will study, develop new theory, and provide practitioner tools based on this emerging personal style phenomenon rooted in the sharing economy. This has important implications for the development of sharing economy platforms in the future as well as fundamental shifts in consumer behavior that have not been fully explored to date.