Attentional Social Media: Mapping the Spaces and Networks of the Fashion Industry

Ate Poorthuis, Dominic Power, Matthew Zook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In this article we use big data methods to analyze the attention paid to the fashion industry on social media. The article argues that for the fashion industry, like many industries, the core product is a form of knowledge that is dependent on gaining and holding people’s attention. To understand this attentional economy, social media offers a unique window because it is increasingly a central space within which fashion knowledge is created and shared. Using long-term, geotagged big data from Twitter, we analyze the hitherto difficult-to-explore spaces and places of the global fashion industry. The article suggests that the data confirm the ideas that there are a series of global fashion capitals that are especially important to the industry and that attention paid to fashion is highly uneven and varied across industry functions, national origins, and companies. Evidence is presented that attention to fashion is a global phenomenon that does not always directly link to where fashion products are sold. Attention to fashion is both a market-making mechanism for the industry as well as an indicator of wider social and cultural processes of tastemaking and identity formation within which fashion is entwined. The article concludes by suggesting that such data offer geographers new ways of looking at and linking economic, social, and cultural spaces and geographies and that social media analysis can help bridge boundaries that divide geographers. Key Words: attention economy, big data, economic geography, fashion industry, social media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-966
Number of pages26
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Attentional Social Media: Mapping the Spaces and Networks of the Fashion Industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this