A Robert Gordon University fashion management lecturer has been recognised at the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes conference for her work.
Dr Madeleine Marcella-Hood was invited to present her research at the event in Manchester and was awarded an initiative accolade for her paper.
It focused on Scottish style and Scottish fashion influencers on Instagram and how they are shaping contemporary representations of Scotland.
Teaching at RGU’s School of Creative and Cultural Business, she been exploring the construction of Scottish identity and place among fashion and style influencers on Instagram.
With the role of Scottish fashion influencers changing, Madeleine says these individuals could be considered as important cultural icons who are shaping contemporary representations of Scotland.
She found that research into Scottish fashion is an underdeveloped field and hopes her current research will pave the way for future studies into contemporary Scottish fashion.
“Literature in the field of Scottish identity suggests that the traditional Highland myth surrounding Scotland is so overwhelming that it is difficult for new meanings and identities to come to the fore,” said Madeleine.
“The aim of this study was to explore the construction of Scottish identity and place among fashion and style influencers on Instagram. The Highland myth of Scotland has been popularised by literary and artistic representations of the nation and I would argue that Scottish fashion influencers act in a similar way and could be considered as important cultural icons who are shaping contemporary representations of Scotland.
“It became apparent that information on Scottish fashion is quite difficult to come by and academic research into Scottish fashion is underdeveloped and where this does exist, it tends to focus on traditional textiles such as tartan and tweed.
“I was aware of a growing community of Scottish fashion influencers operating on Instagram and that these individuals were perhaps quite important in shaping contemporary perceptions of Scottish identity and fashion among a potentially global audience, where social media platforms like Instagram are unrestricted in terms of their geographic reach.”
Madeleine’s research involved interviews with 14 Scottish fashion influencers. All the participants were asked to provide a set of posts that they felt were representative of their identity as Scottish fashion influencers.
The participants were all women and Madeleine said this is particularly revealing, where traditionally Scottish identity has evoked more masculine imagery.
Madeleine added: “The findings reveal a tension between past and present representations of Scotland, where traditional textiles were recognised for their value to the Scottish fashion industry and economy but not considered sufficient in conveying contemporary Scottish style, which was found to be more diverse.
“Participants tended to convey an outdoor lifestyle in their posts and much of their fashion imagery reaffirms the Highland vision of Scotland as a place, where they preferred to present themselves against a historic or rural backdrop. They expressed a natural preference for autumn-winter styles, which elicited comfort and familiarity and stemmed from a sense of themselves as Scottish. The autumn-winter aesthetic was strong throughout the sample imagery in terms of fashion choices and tonality of colour.”
“This research helps pave the way for future research into contemporary Scottish fashion. A novel methodological approach is adopted that could be used in future studies of online identity.
Madeleine was one of only eight to receive an award.
She said: “Other authors included researchers from Parsons and FIT in New York so it was a real honour for my research to be recognised alongside the work of others from globally renowned fashion institutions such as these.
Madeleine’s paper was titled Scottish style: the construction of Scottish identity amongst fashion and style influencers on Instagram.