Haul videos are a great display of identity construction through consumption: appropriation and assimilation in implicitly advertising the self through explicitly advertising products. This is a form of conspicuous consumption, in which subjects share or show their *newly purchased* commodities to an intended audience. The “Fall Fashion Haul | Nordstrom Anniversary Sale” video by Katie’s Bliss begins with Katie entering, riding and getting out of a taxi to her in her room. This introduction signifies a journey and gives audience a brief view of her lifestyle through her choice of transportation.

Katie explains that she will be filming a series of haul videos in the same dress, and is quick to self-defend that “NO! I don’t just own one dress and I don’t just wear it in every single video I film” with a face of ridicule, exposing her concerns of being judged as not having the choice or taste attributes of an upper-middle class. Katie makes similar remarks throughout the video to protect her status while attempting to fit the norm; a pair of boots that she had worn much is “so beat up and dirty and just nasty I think I’m gonna just donate them to the poor this year.” These remarks demonstrate her social class, or at least her economic capital as well as her cultural capital to some extent, reflecting her habitus as Bourdieu would argue, leading her to implicitly look down on others with different habitus (those who deserve what she considers as negative).

Katie also refers to her other social media platforms, such as her blog, which her intended audience should already know of for more representations of Katie, as well as her Instagram, and Pinterest; these, along with her Youtube account “channel” the “new middle-class” need for self-promotion. She also adds an explanation to every product elaborating why it’s necessary that she just has to have it, accentuating a self-believed personal preference and taste.

Katie talks about a pair of boots and her most desired “black legging-esque pants” and one may notice her emphasis on functionality. She notes that the boots can keep her feet warm while enabling to walk a lot and being very fashion-forward at the same time. With the black pants, she is aware of formality, displaying cultural capital; she explains that she has been looking for a synthesis of leggings and jeans for work. She is aware of the norm for the cultural interaction she participates in. Katie also briefly mentions how she could wear the pants, “tucking them in the boots,” “wear with nice tops and sweaters and wear on the weekends too.” These are all additions to the consumer content and tie in with consumption practice, which demonstrate further how cultural capital is embedded in one’s lifestyle, literally, as she adds “I’m probably just gonna live in these pants.”

Katie’s online presence is an extension of her social life; Bourdieu would agree in that she has used her economic (spendings), cultural (knowledge) and social (relationship with followers) capital resources to compete for status. By the end we know she is a city girl who works in a casual environment and that she just moved out of college last year. Katie is not a snob because she participates in sales, despite her penchant for highbrow content; she is not an omnivore quite yet because she does not show much appreciation for diversity in the video. To emphasize this, most of her purchases are similar/replacements to what she has always worn or owned (Kate Spade watch to replace lost Michael Kors watch, boots to replace worn down boots that are very similar in style, and pants of a highbrow brand “Vince” to replace leggings that “sag in the butt”). Katie, however, is a cultural intermediary who has achieved a large following, perhaps because of the mass ‘new middle-class” audience out there alike, whom aspire for more.

 

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