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Completed Papers 4: Information Seeking and Retrieval
Time: 23/Mar/2017: 10:30am-12:00pm · Location: Yangtze

Re-intermediation in the Fashion Industry: A Qualitative Study on Brokers in the Dongdae-mun Fashion District

Min-Joon Kim, Nuri Na, Joong-Seek Lee

Seoul National University, Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

This study investigates the change of intermediaries’ roles in the presence of infomediaries, and the conditions that necessitate the re-introduction of the middlemen as “re-intermediaries”. We observed a group of brokers who work in the Dongdae-mun fashion district in Seoul, Korea through multi-angled observations including observations, contextual inquiries, and in-depth interviews. Our findings show that while an infomediary provides the fashion ecosystem a new way for information access, the reliability and depth of information relayed by human sources, along with the subjective nature of fashion and style have contributed to the brokers playing a major role in the fashion district. The DDM fashion district relies heavily on the brokers’ evaluations on trends and fashion in addition to their traditional role of distributing goods in a quick manner. The findings from this study can be applied to a wider range of occupations where humans and technology are competing.

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