Date: 8 July 2019, Monday
Place: Faculty of Business Administration,
Ümit Berkman Seminar Room (MA-330)
“THE HIDDEN FIGURES IN FASHION: DIVERSITY ISSUE”
İzmir University of Economics
Abstract: Prior research has emphasized how the fashion industry creates a burden on women to measure their self-worth with the ideal standards of beauty defined by the industry. In a fashion scene dominated by Caucasian looks, this burden becomes even more substantial for women from different ethnic, racial, religious, or cultural backgrounds and women in different age groups and socioeconomic classes and with differing physical abilities, to name a few. As such, investigating the fashion consumption experiences of a diverse group of women, the social and psychological consequences of underrepresentation, and the perspectives of fashion producers on diversity becomes crucial. With a qualitative inquiry, this study employs the triangulation of data collection techniques, including 58 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with both fashion consumers and producers, observation, and secondary research, as well as interpretive analysis and content analysis through Netnography (via Instagram posts under the hashtag #fashiondiversity). The first theoretical contribution of this research is the revelation of a perception gap between fashion producers and consumers regarding what diversity means, as well as the extension of the types of diversity that were previously ignored in the literature. Second, through using the social capital framework to understand the consumption experiences of diverse consumers, the study highlights the impact of virtual communities and the role of different fashion constituents regarding a possible institutional-level change towards increased diversity or cultural homogeneity. Ultimately, through this study, I hope to contribute to a change towards increased inclusivity, a redefining the beauty standards, and the preventions of the industry from engaging in practices that lead to the exclusion of specific female groups.