Here, Riekert adopts Gladwell’s term to refer to street-style fashion bloggers whose keen sense of fashion results in documentation of the some of globe’s newest and funkiest looks featured on the web for all to see. As a result, fashion industry executives, rather than hiring street teams to seek out “cool” looks, are turning to fashion bloggers in order to ascertain what is in style. This occurrence is widespread and Riekert identifies several companies whose soul purpose is to sift through fashion blogs in the hope of determining the next big thing.
Riekert argues that while these blogs provide a valuable service to the fashion industry, they also democratize the act of coolhunting. “In the end, the price the companies pay for this 'free' information is that they don't have exclusivity,” she explains. Yet coolhunting does not just apply to the fashion industry; indeed, corporations focused on almost any aspect of culture or technology frequently turn to blogs in order to ascertain what the next big trend will be. Like Gladwell’s version of coolhunting, online coolhunting is valuable because it provides up-to-date and cutting-edge information. Furthermore, the interactivity of blogs helps generate further dialogue, as readers comment on posts and debate trends. In the end, ideas debated and favored on the web can be translated into real products created by the industries for the marketplace.
In general, Riekert combines interviews with bloggers and media companies and web statistics to form a solid argument, yet her adoption of the term “coolhunter” to refer to fashion bloggers seems to deviate slightly from Gladwell’s original designation. Unlike the coolhunters of the 1990s, today’s coolhunters are not tied to industry insiders but work for themselves. Rather than reporting their finders directly to a fashion corporation, they post their findings online. Thus, fashion industry experts must go through an extra step in order to access the information that the coolhunters have amassed. This extra step is crucial because it grants both industry insiders and the general public the same information at the same time. Thus, readers are providing feedback in the form of comments and discussion at the same time the fashion industries are designing their new lines. The result is a line of fashion directly influenced by popular opinion.
Yet while many fashions captured by fashion bloggers end up being adapted by the masses, just as many of these fashions are ridiculed or rejected. Although Riekert never explicitly states that fashion blogs make the so-called “cool” subjects featured on blogs susceptible to the (sometimes cruel) opinions of the greater blog-reading public, she ends her article with the mention of a German blogger whose blog features tee-shirts with faux underarm hair – a trend which will likely (or at least hopefully) be rejected by the masses. Extrapolating, one can glean that this more accessible form of coolhunting also strips the cool of some of their power to dictate the fashions, as any new trends must be approved by the masses before they are translated into profitable market goods.