Social comparison in fashion blogging: "creative self" as the new genre in fashion communication

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Fashion blogging, Social comparison, Creative self, Digital culture, Fashion communication


DOI: 10.1108/JFMM-07-2019-0140


Purpose – The purpose of this study is to draw on an inductive approach in exploring how the post-90s generation relates themselves with the others when browsing fashion images on social media. More specifically, this work explores how young fashion readers perceive the phenomenon of bloggers’ self-modeling as a means of self-expression.

Design/methodology/approach – Eight focus groups were conducted for 64 Hong Kong young fashion readers. Respondents were asked about their opinion on the fashion blogs, their preference toward bloggers’ self-modeling phenomenon, and how they compare themselves with the self-modeling fashion bloggers.

Findings – Results indicate that a tendency of social comparison occurred as readers indicated preference toward fashion bloggers who perform as self-modeling image producers, this supports the notion of social comparison that human nature tends to compare with others similar to themselves. This finding also suggests the critical awareness of young fashion readers, in which an ideal beauty is perceived as a successful result from a calculated visual creation, namely “the creative self”.

Research limitations/implications – This study focus on a Hong Kong setting with Instagram as the key communication platform; future research would be benefited from a wider scope of study from an international perspective.

Practical implications – This paper provides practical insight for fashion brands’ strategic planners on how the fashion blogging works as a new genre of fashion communication. By understanding the fashion readers’ preference, strategic planners could develop appropriate marketing communication strategy in Response to the new trend of readers engaging in visual creative production for fashion.

Originality/value – This study reveals a new perspective in interpreting social comparison behavior for the fashion readers in the digital culture, whereas the targeted comparison attribute changed from ideal beauty to the creative self. This finding contributes to the discourse of academic theories in social media, social comparison and fashion communication.

Source Publication

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management



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