The Use of Hip-Hop Culture in Astrid Andersen’s Strategic Business Communication

Anja Pallesen & Maria Johnsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This study investigates Astrid Andersen’s use of subcultures in the strategic marketing communication. The present research is a theoretical and practical demonstration of how a company associates with a subculture. The choice of the Danish empirical case company Astrid Andersen is based on the brand’s use of elements within hip-hop culture in the design process. Using Astrid Andersen as empirical focus we seek to analyse how she benefit from gaining traction within the hip-hop culture from a business strategic communication perspective. Astrid Andersen is amongst brands that are inspired by the hip-hop culture which have achieved great success internationally.
Consequently chapter one employ trickle-down, bubble-up and trickle-across theories in order to investigate the social dynamics in fashion in relation to business. Thus, the social dynamics clarify how these trickle theories enables Astrid Andersen to achieve market expansion by focusing on a defined social group. Accordingly we examine the trickle theories as a symbiose of commercial and subcultural business strategy and how this relates to Astrid Andersen. Concurrently she makes use of opinion leaders, why this study argues that diverse trickle movements are represented around the brand.
In order to examine fashion and clothing as material culture Crane and Bovone proposes a framework for the study of the creation of symbolic values attributed to material culture. In contrast to classic market-oriented business models we employ a sociological approach to marketing. Thus we examine business communication in relation to social dynamics.
In the first analytical approach we analyse the meaning-making processes and the symbolic value of the hip hop culture. This approach illustrates the universe of reference within hip-hop culture and the symbols applied in the meaning-making process. It seems essential to illustrate fashion changes which the subcultural tendencies have influence on. Second analytical approach observe the cross-national studies of symbolic values expressed in material goods in order to reveal differences in the types of symbolic values attributed to material culture in different countries and religions. We concentrate attention to Copenhagen, London and New York as these cities constitute Astrid Andersen’s nationality, fashion platform, and design inspiration. Additionally we draw attention to place image which constitute the fundamental frame of understanding. Third, we analyse the systems of cultural production in which symbolic values are attributed to material culture through the collective activities of personnel. Here we examine Astrid Andersen’s design universe by reference to language of clothes and the visible symbolic values Astrid Andersen utilizes in the hip-hop culture.
Fourth, we conduct an analysis of the communication of symbolic values and the processes whereby they are disseminated to consumers through the media. For exploration of the text and images that are presented in fashion magazines and how this is affecting Astrid Andersen we implicate represented garment and real garment, written-clothing and image-clothing. Moreover storytelling illustrates the communication Astrid Andersen employs through fashion shows. Fifth, an analysis of the attribution of symbolic values to material cultures by consumers and of their responses to symbolic values attributed to material culture by producers of material culture or in other ways is performed. Studying how text and images are disseminated to the public requires further insight on fashion media. Thus, we explore the impact that digitally mediated communications technologies have on Astrid Andersen. Blogs has become key players in the field of fashion. Therefore we clarify how this is influencing fashion and the identity construction within the hip-hop subculture.
The concluding remarks of the dissertation bring perspectives to how subcultures have desublimated and turned into mainstream culture which have affected todays fashion system. The identification of subcultures is difficult as present subcultures are a mix and match of symbolic values from different cultures. Therefore we question the existence of present subcultures. The fashion system is changing. In a modern and digital era the need to appear in the latest fashion has influenced the established designers. The pressure from high street brands has resulted in changes in New York’s fashion system (CFDA) where brands as Burberry, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger have replaced the six-monthly fashion cyclus.
This study seeks to examine the relationship between Astrid Andersen and the hip-hop culture through symbolic values embodied in the designs. By dressing hip-hop artists that appeal to the mainstream consumer we explore how Astrid Andersen achieves business advantage.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages208