Abstract Defining the fashion industry in the same way as other cultural industries, as a system for controlling innovation through gatekeeping processes, this study examined the processes that generated and selected innovations in six Italian fashion companies and among a sample of fashion consultants providing services to these companies. Two major problems faced these companies: (1) that of introducing new products three or four times a year but at the same time retaining stylistic elements that had been successful in previous years; (2) a high level of uncertainty regarding the potential market for their products. Three types of influences on creativity in these companies were identified: strategic (exercised primarily by managers), technical (exercised by skilled employees) and procedural (exercised by a specific type of manager that oversaw the entire process of production). The continuous negotiation of meaning at different levels of the organization led to “a diffuse creativity production process” in which managers and employees with many different types of skills participated. Service professionals outside these organizations created semantic frames within which novel elements in the products of these companies could be read and recognized by consumers, thereby increasing the immaterial value of these products and reducing the uncertainty surrounding their introduction to the market.