Long time, no post…

So I’ve broken one of the cardinal rules of blogging and not posted anything for over a year! My excuse… another baby! Arlo – lovingly known as “baby brother”. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know how active I am on there and I really don’t want to turn this into a baby blog (even though I LOVE mummy bloggers) so I’ve resisted posting some of my day-to-day maternity leave antics. Anyway I’m back at work now and back to my research. I’d actually planned to stay research active during my maternity leave and had grand plans to publish papers but you can guess what came of those plans… nothing! I had a lovely maternity leave filled with coffee dates, making new mummy friends and hanging out with my best friend – 3 year old daughter and world’s bestest big sister, Romy.

Since being off work and taking a little break from my research my focus has shifted a little – it’s broader, in that I am looking at Scotland as a whole rather than focusing on the North East of Scotland, and I plan to look more specifically at fashion communicators on Instagram. My rationale comes primarily from the preliminary interviews I carried out with fashion bloggers in the summer of 2015. During these interviews it really became apparent that bloggers in the North East of Scotland were not branding themselves to a specific city or place (mainly due to concerns around security and a perceived lack of follower knowledge or interest in a more remote region) but most were proud to identify themselves as “Scottish” bloggers, where they saw this as a unique selling point and something that made them stand out in a the ever crowded blogosphere. My interviewees also spoke quite animatedly about online relationships and communities that then became offline friendships and networks through the use of hashtags and virtual and physical meet ups; interestingly these relationships were actually a key motivator for some of my participants – something that kept them blogging. Why the focus on Instagram? Well, in some ways I’m not really just concerned with Instagram, rather fashion influencers for want of a better term, but it does seem like a good place to start in terms of building a picture (literally!) of what the Scottish fashion and style landscape online looks like. Is there a blogger in the world who isn’t on Instagram? Is there a blogger in the world that posts on their blog more than they post on Instagram? My preliminary interviews showed that bloggers 1) get most of their traffic through Instagram; 2) post on Instagram more regularly than on their blog; and 3) feel that their Instagram is an extension of their blogging identity and something they take seriously.

So, over the past few weeks, I’ve been carrying out a content analysis of all Scottish fashion and style related content on Instagram using a number of hashtags. Predictably, this is taking a lot longer than anticipated but it’s actually really interesting. At this stage, the analysis is quantitative where I am going through all the images (there are thousands!) and basically trying to gain a sense of what types of images that are being associated with Scottish fashion and lifestyle on Instagram. Once I’ve done this I plan to organise these into categories and sample images from these groups which will be subject to further, more in-depth, qualitative analysis. I’m delighted to have started the second stage of my research and I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my findings on the blog at a later date!

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Mind mapping

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Thought I’d share this picture from a recent research mind mapping task… It was actually really useful for me to think about how all my research projects fit together and where I could add value to RGU’s strategic research agenda of Northern Culture.

I also managed to get all the good coloured pens before they were gone!

Over the next month I’ll be busy finalising a research paper and writing up my latest PhD progress report and then I’m off on maternity leave again!

Thank you to my fabulous North East fashion bloggers

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A huge thank you to all the fabulous North East fashion bloggers who I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing over the last couple of weeks! Your help is very much appreciated and I loved hearing the story behind your blogs.

I’ve started analysing my data (always a really interesting and exciting point in the research process) and there are some really interesting themes emerging! I’m still looking for potential interviewees so please let me know if you fit the criteria of North East fashion blogger or if you know anyone who does and might like to be involved.

Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend (from my sunny garden in Aberdeen)!

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Fashionable fundraising and research update

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It’s been a busy few months at the Fashion Place with two of our annual student events taking place in Spring! Over the past few months, the students have been working hard to plan their events in celebration of Aberdeen Business School’s fiftieth anniversary. Our fashion exhibition, in April, was a huge success where our students raised around £400 for a range of local charities. The students planned lots of value adding additions for their launch event, including the pink lemonade tower (pictured below).

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Our Golden Show fashion event took place on the 29th of May and the students completely transformed the atrium of Aberdeen Business School, using crepe pompoms, paper dresses, balloons and confetti. We got some fantastic feedback from guests and successfully raised £4737 for Down’s Syndrome Scotland. We’re very grateful to all the sponsors who helped make the night a success!

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It’s always sad to see the students leave for summer, the campus is so quiet without them. The fashion show is a lovely send off though and the perfect way to end the semester. I’m so passionate about this event, having been part of the very first student cohort who organised it (back in 2008).

Now the focus is very much back on my research projects and I’m delighted to have conducted my first fashion blogger interview today – I can already see that there will be lots of interesting and thought provoking data that emerge from these! More on that soon…

My love for Instagram

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My love for Instagram just keeps growing ❤

Last night I was looking back through my own photos and thought it was really interesting to see how my visual identity has changed over the past 2-3 years since I created my profile. It was also fascinating to see how image quality and filters have developed over this time (something I hadn’t appreciated!)

Here’s the most recent snapshot from my Instagram profile (which I think sums me up quite well). Mum to baby Romy, auntie to two amazing nieces and a nephew, dog lover, birthday cake connoisseur and consumer of fashion; the latter has evolved from personal to baby fashion as you can see! A more recent addiction (over the past year or so) is children’s books! I just love spending time in the book shop, library or garden centre (yes – they have the best books!) with Romy and she just loves a book! I think this all reinforces some of Veblen’s ideas about conspicuous consumption where social media has simply made this all the more conspicuous; is the reason we consume to be seen to consume?

After pondering my own identity I revisited the profiles of two of my closest (and oldest) friends:

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I’ve been friends with Eilidh and Adele since we met at School about 16 years ago (such a long time really!) and we’ve been close ever since. We have very particular ideas about what is nice and our tastes are actually very similar.

These screenshots are from their most recent array of photos; none of us are hugely regular posters. We probably average around 1-2 posts most weeks. Eilidh (above) is a makeup and fashion lover from Aberdeen. She loves her sisters, friends and family (and cocktails – of course). Eilidh is a fabulous present buyer and a loyal and generous friend – she takes her time over detail (and is as a result a fantastic organiser of events). Eilidh tells it like it is and is one of the funniest people I’ve met.

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Adele (probably the least frequent poster of us all) is a successful restaraunteur, who runs 210 Bistro in Aberdeen. She’s a clever cookie and works so hard to make her business amazing! She enjoys fine dining almost as much as she loves skiing and snowboarding. Adele is a thoughtful and caring friend and girlfriend who is very close with her family. She loves to bake (mostly for friends’ birthdays) and travel.

It’s hard to believe that Instagram has only been around for 5 years and it’ll be interesting to see how things evolve…