ZMJ Call For Papers: Rethinking Fashion Brands in The Era of Digital Media


Volume 11 n. 1, 2021 

MariachiaraColucci, University of Bologna 

Marco Pedroni, eCampus University 


Over the last two decades, the process of digitization has deeply reshaped the dynamics of the field of fashion. Scholarly debate has framed the overall societal changes in this regard under the category of mediatization. The relevance of media has been recognized «in the social construction of everyday life, society, and culture as a whole» (Krotz 2009: 24), something that makes mediatization a kind of meta-process «grounded in the modification of communication as the basic practice of how people construct the social and cultural world» (ibid.: 26). The mediatization of society works as a process «whereby society to an increasing degree is submitted to, or becomes dependent on, the media and their logic» (Hjarvard 2008: 113).   

Fashion has a problematic relationship with digital media. On the one hand, fashion bloggers and influencers set the foundations of the influencer marketing that is now largely expanding in all the lifestyle-related industries. On the other, the fashion industry has become able to exploit the advantages of digitization later than other cultural industries. Nonetheless, it could not avoid to be involved in this «mediatization of everything» (Livingstone 2009: x). Fashion is subject to mediatization in a variety of ways (Rocamora 2017) affecting the processes of designing, producing, distributing, promoting and consuming clothes.  

This special issue aims to understand how digitization is affecting the domain of fashion, with particular attention to the role of fashion brands. Accordingly, we invite scholars to deal with a set of questions in the light of digitization and mediatization: 

  • How do fashion brands, whether mass-market or established maisons, interface with their audience, advertise their products, reach their targets, finalize the sale, and retain the consumers? 
  • How has physical retail been transformed by digital, whether in-store or out-store? (e.g. interactive showcases, digital signage, intelligent mannequins, digital fitting rooms, innovative payment acceptance systems, sales force automation) 
  • How has digital technology changed the format and meaning of fashion shows and catwalks? 
  • How is digital impacting on fashion economy and luxury conglomerates? (e.g. processes of automation and optimization of economies of scale throughout the supply chain) 
  • How is digitization contributing to the development of new business models? (e.g. crowdfunding, start-up incubators, online platforms) 
  • How do fashion brands cooperate with, fight against or exploit new digital intermediaries like bloggers, influencers and content creators? 
  • How do digital platforms promote new forms of contamination between culture and commerce? (e.g. lifestyle magazines combined with e-commerce platforms, influencers turned into entrepreneurs and brands themselves) 
  • How do brands pursue the search for authenticity, as a value and a rhetoric construction, through digital channels? 

The call for papers is open (but not restricted) to scholars of any discipline belonging to social and organizational science and humanities, and especially to management, marketing, sociology, anthropology, communication, history. 

The overall objective of the special issue is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the challenges and opportunities that fashion brands are dealing with. 

Contributions capable of looking at the digital transformation of brands from a critical perspective and of outlining new lines of research within fashion studies will be particularly welcome. 



Abstracts of no more than 1000 words + 5 bibliographical references (word *.docx format), written either in Italian or English, must be sent to

Abstract acceptance does not guarantee publication of the article, which will be submitted to a double-blind peer-review process. 


Key deadlines: 

  • abstract submission: February 15, 2021 
  • notification of acceptance/rejection: February 28, 2021 (notice of acceptance might include comments and requests of explanations). 
  • full-length paper (6000/7000 words) submission: March 31, 2021
  • comments of the reviewers will be conveyed together with the editor’s decision (approval with no changes, approval with major/minor changes and/or rejection): April 25, 2021
  • authors shall send the reviewed article to the editorial staff by May 15, 2021

ZMJ 11.1 2021 is scheduled to be published by July 2021.