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Title: The strategic use of art, architecture and design in high-end fashion retail
Author: Bush, Jessica
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 0021
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Bucks New University
Date of Award: 2008
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The aim of this thesis is to investigate the role of art, architecture and design in the luxury sector of fashion retail, taking leading high-end fashion brands as case studies. This study addresses how art, architecture and design can be shaped for commercial purposes, to make brands appear exclusive and distinctive. In the first section, a review of existing literature on art, design, fashion and consumption establishes how this research subject fits within broader debates that centre in these different creative practices. This research investigates the purpose of displaying works of art in high-end fashion stores and shows how - together with architecture and design - it has transformed retail environments. This study sets out to demonstrate that the introduction of art, architecture and design has been a pretext for fashion retailers to ‘conceptualise’ their outlets, designing them as sites of experimentation to stimulate and rejuvenate the shopping experience. This study argues that these creative practices have been presented as symbols of a utopian luxury lifestyle, and have been employed as languages to communicate with brands’ target markets. Case studies trace instances of this in the context of globalisation; examples include the representation of French brands in Japan. This study also contends that through their involvement with art, architecture and design, retailers have been enabled to present, with credibility, their commodities as works of art, elevating the status of their brands and maintain the exclusive character of high-end fashion. This was part of a bigger cultural shift in the capitalist first world, which involved a commodification of culture. Finally, this thesis speculates on the place of art, architecture and design within the future of high-end fashion retail and concludes that, despite the fact that this phenomenon has escaped critical attention, their presence in retail environments plays a key role in shaping the image of contemporary commercial spaces and is characteristic of the growing significance of creativity in late capitalist societies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Buckinghamshire New University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available