This paper delves into the nuances of ‘fashion’ in recommender systems and social media analytics, which shape and define an individual’s perception and self-relationality. Its aim is twofold: first, it supports a different perspective on privacy that focuses on the individual’s process of identity construction considering the social and personal aspects of ‘fashion’. Second, it underlines the limitations of computational models in capturing the diverse meaning of ‘fashion’, whereby the algorithmic prediction of user preferences is based on individual conscious and unconscious associations with fashion identity. I test both of these claims in the context of current concerns over the impact of algorithmic personalisation systems on individual autonomy and privacy: creating ‘filter bubbles’, nudging the user beyond their conscious awareness, as well as the inherent bias in algorithmic decision-making. We need an understanding of privacy that sustains the inherent reduction of fashion identity to literal attributes and protects individual autonomy in shaping algorithmic approximations of the self.
- algorithmic personalisation