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Title: The role of fashion design in the construct of national identity of Kuwaiti women in the 21st century
Author: Alazemi, Einas
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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The main objective of this research is to investigate the relationship between national identity and fashion among Kuwaiti women. The research findings propose that Kuwaiti women are able to use fashion to contribute to the construct of their national identity in the twenty-­first century. A multi-­method approach to the investigation was adopted. Firstly, critical analysis was used to grasp the concepts of national identity and fashion, and conclusions were drawn. Secondly, a case study method was used to collect data from a prominent, iconic Kuwaiti woman, Fatima Husain. Data was collected by undertaking critical analysis of her book and of publications about her by others, as well as an interview with her. Finally, primary data was obtained through interviews with prominent designers from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, and from a structured questionnaire survey of women from these two countries. Thematic analysis was used to identify the key themes that were then analysed to establish the nature of the relationship between fashion and national identity among Kuwaiti woman. Five major themes and several other sub-­ themes were identified, analysed and discussed. These five major themes are discourses on individualism, symbolism, morality, ethnicity and parochialism. The main conclusions were: (i) national identity is a complex, multi-­ perspective concept not amenable to a universal definition. The position taken in this study was the modernist perspective, that is, national identity is a socially constructed process which continues to evolve according to context. Put in simple terms, it is a process in transition; (ii) there is no universal theory to explain fashion, which can be considered multi-­‐ disciplinary. This study concluded that the theory of fashion is rooted in social theory, behavioural science theory and economics theory, and it also involves aspects such as social class, behaviour (e.g. imitation, innovation) and disposable income. An analysis of fashion trends in Kuwait showed a significant shift in women’s fashion over the last 80 years; (iii) the Kuwaiti woman is ethnic, educated, independent, moral, wealthy, modest, decent, dignified, elegant and conspicuous. She has fine taste, is able to make clothing choices, is at times parochial but is ultimately able to use fashion to communicate her image and hence construct her national identity. However, therelationship between fashion and identity appears to manifest itself in two major ways – traditional dress and day dress. The study concludes with the design of a logo as part of the practical design element of the study. The primary elements of the logo were based on the findings of this research which were taken into account in the design. The logo therefore extended the theoretical findings using visual analysis. The objective is to have the logo manufactured for commercialisation.
Supervisor: Makhoul, Bashir Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament