How Do Cultural Producers Make Creative Decisions? Lessons from the Catwalk


Social Forces

décembre 2009, vol. 88, n°2, pp.671-692

Départements : Management et Ressources Humaines

Faced with high uncertainty, how do producers in the cultural economy make creative decisions? We present a case study of the fashion modeling industry. Using participant observation, interviews and network analysis of the Spring/Summer 2007 Fashion Week collections, we explain how producers select models for fashion shows. While fashion producers conceive of their selection of models as a matter of "taste," or personal preference, we find that their decisions are shaped by information sharing mechanisms in social networks, principally through a mechanism known as "optioning," which enables producers to know each others' preferences and to align themselves with similar status actors. For cultural producers, choices are a matter of strategic status considerations, even as they are expressed as a matter of personal tast