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 taste.


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pp. 671-692
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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