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Dump it out! An enquiry into consumers’ everyday fashion discourses through handbag

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Handbag is an iconic fashion accessory in our material culture. Following the tradition of representational thinking, this article introduces the handbag as an epistemic consumption object through which to investigate consumer experiences, practices and identity construction in relation to everyday lived discourses. The handbag research involves an examination of participants’ personal belongings inside their bags together with phenomenological interviews concerning the associated subjective experiences along with these material objects. We demonstrate how these material possessions become the subject of the research that facilitates multiple conversations between researchers and participants as to introspect, evaluate and interpret the significance of symbolic consumption in their everyday life. This study contributes to proposing a systematic way of employing interpretive research methodology in the studies of material culture; in addition, this study on the handbag can act as an inspiration for others in identifying emerging themes and topics into symbolism in popular culture.
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Keywords: consumption; fashion; handbag; interpretive research; methodology; phenomenology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong 2: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Publication date: 01 July 2015

More about this publication?
  • Fashion, Style & Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal specifically dedicated to the area of fashion scholarship and its interfacings with popular culture. It was established to provide an interdisciplinary environment for fashion academics and practitioners to publish innovative scholarship in all aspects of fashion and popular culture relating to design, textiles, production, promotion, consumption and appearance-related products and services. Articles related to history, manufacturing, aesthetics, sourcing, marketing, branding, merchandising, retailing, technology, psychological/sociological aspects of dress, style, body image, and cultural identities, as well as purchasing, shopping, and the ways and means consumers construct identity as associated to Fashion, Style & Popular Culture are welcomed. The journal offers a broad range of written and visual scholarship and includes works done through various methods of research. We welcome conceptual, theoretical and translational applied research in the areas of fashion, style and popular culture. This journal hopes to stimulate new discussions in the fashion disciplines and to push the envelope of scholarship by welcoming new and established scholars to submit their works.
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