Creative Industries; Fashion; Fur; Gatekeepers; Social Movements; Status
In creative industries, a producer’s choice to use specific cultural practices is often driven by considerations of industry-specific notions of creativity and artistic vision. Creative producers claim autonomy over which practices are deemed desirable or legitimate, creating resistance to influences from outside the industry, such as from social movements.This study proposes that in such contexts, externally-driven change depends on the role of prominent gatekeepers. The authors consider how shifts in their discourse translate and amplify external social movement pressures for producers. The authors further argue that higher-status producers respond more to the changing discourse of these gatekeepers, to whom they are more tightly connected. This leads to a dynamic that is counterintuitive in the context of creative industries in which higher-status producers, who can benefit most from preserving the status quo, show greater responsiveness to external pressures when translated through gatekeeper discourse.The authors' empirical analysis uses a unique data set related to a prototypical contested practice: fur use in high-end fashion. These findings highlight the complex role of gatekeepers in creative industries and indirect pathways through which external social movements drive change.