Journal Article

The Mediation of Luxury Brands in Digital Storytelling



This paper considers the mediation of luxury fashion brands in the digital storytelling of the social media account named The Rich Kids of Instagram. Since 2012, Instagram users have been encouraged to use the hashtag #rkoi so photos of a lavish lifestyle can be collected together. The conspicuous consumption of these affluent young people from different countries also became Channel 4’s six-episode reality TV show Rich Kids of Instagram. The Instagram accounts and the TV show displaying well-known luxury fashion pieces, splendid cars and private jets are the object of this study. The motivation for this investigation comes from the need to reevaluate the idea of luxury and its dissemination in contemporary digital media. As is frequently exposed in social media, and in this particular case on Instagram, we aim to examine the outcome of this display. We intend to argue that the represented world on Instagram and the subsequent TV show distorts the expected or the lived experience of luxury as something distinctive and unique, and turns it into a kitsch object. Drawing on Baudrillard’s approach to mass-media culture (1998), we view kitsch as a category that is not to be confused with the real object (in this respect, the luxury one), but understood as a “pseudo-object” that represents an “aesthetics of simulation” of the original. Keywords: mediation, luxury fashion, digital storytelling, performance, kitsch

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Fashion Theory. The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture.
  • Published:
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About the Author

Paula von Wachenfeldt

Paula von Wachenfeldt is Associate Professor in Fashion Studies at Stockholm University. She is the author of several articles in the fields of fashion and cultural studies. Her research addresses, among other things, the first institutionalizati... Read more


von Wachenfeldt, P. (2019). The Mediation of Luxury Brands in Digital Storytelling. Fashion Theory. The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture.