City Research Online

Changing Style in Style-Changing Industries: The Role of Critics as Gatekeepers in High-End Fashion

Cillo, P., Nunes, J. C., Prandelli, E. & Scopelliti, I. ORCID: 0000-0001-6712-5332 (2020). Changing Style in Style-Changing Industries: The Role of Critics as Gatekeepers in High-End Fashion. Advances in Strategic Management, Aesthe(42), pp. 155-182.


Mastering aesthetics is a precious source of competitive advantage in creative industries. In fashion, innovation is reflected by how and how much styles change. Elite designers claim to be the only endogenous force shaping fashion innovation season by season. Yet, each season, fashion critics vet the new collections these designers introduce, assessing what is original as opposed toreworked and uninspired, in this way playing a fundamental role as gatekeepers in setting taste within the industry. In this research, we document how stylistic innovation, vis-`a-vis the styles premier design houses introduced each season, is impacted, among the others, by the specific exogenous force of critics’ assessments of designers’ past work. Our data, which include 61 measures detailing the styles introduced by 38 prestigious Italian and French design houses over a nine-year period, suggest designers move further away from styles reviewed less favourably while adhering more closely to styles reviewed more positively. Additionally, the styles a designer introduces are shown to depend on critical assessments of competing designers’ styles, revealing how design houses attend to each other’s work. This work documents the strong correlation between style dynamics and critics’ feedback. It also has important implications for any company trying to find a balance between independence and conformity in setting its own unique positioning into the market.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
N Fine Arts
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of CH007-9781800432376-2.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login