Keeping fashionable company : ASOS and the collective logic of online spaces

Brownlie, Douglas and Hewer, Paul and Stewart, Rachel (2013) Keeping fashionable company : ASOS and the collective logic of online spaces. In: Academy of Marketing Conference 2013, 2013-06-04 - 2013-06-07.

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    Abstract

    To contribute to discussions of the collective enterprise of identity making, we turn to online retail spaces and to communicative practices articulated therein. We argue that identity does not emerge spontaneously from atomised market relations, but that collective spaces generate interaction which distributes relations of belonging intermediated by the virtual prism of digital sharing, in this case around the online fashion brand, ASOS.com. Simpson (2005) captures the logic of studying such online spaces as sites of collectivity, suggesting that the ‘idea that one may construct an online identity that in turn shapes and forms one’s ‘real world’ identity carries with it the potential to construct cyberspace as a new frontier in the mapping of identity’. The corollary of this logic is that identity is itself sustained by sources of social cohesion beyond immediate market relations. With its street credentials firmly expressed in an edgy brand ethos, we study the ASOS online community and how it cultivates particular forms of relational interplay that organize identity.