Fashion is a major economic force and is among the top industries in developed countries. As a creative industry, fashion is characterised not only by the “centrality of creativity and aesthetics in the production process, but also by the importance of the consumption process” (Barnard, 2014).
It is an excellent example of how aesthetics is being used to drive the affective economy in social media. Fashion is both an economic and an artistic activity that creates symbols for the consumer, objects laden with meaning. Consumers use these objects to develop their own meanings and personal narratives.
As Bauman writes about the fashion world, ‘the spiritus movens of consumer activity is not a set of articulated, let alone fixed needs, but desire’ (in Svendsen, 2006). As a result, fashion brands produce strong aesthetics and narratives to encourage this desire.
The world of fashion is obsessed with novelty and adopts changing aspects of culture to continually evolve as an art form. It does so to excite and attract an audience with the hope of turning them into consumers as fashion.
Fashion as a business is driven by visual images. They are taken from catwalk shows, photoshoots, lifestyle images, et cetera, and are increasingly presented on social media accounts such as Instagram. They are carefully stylised along a continuum ranging from the everyday to images with high production values in order to promote brands and sell clothes.