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Exploring the space of the thawb: The intersection between fashion, traditional dress and Kuwaiti women's identity

Exploring the space of the thawb: The intersection between fashion, traditional dress and Kuwaiti women's identity
Exploring the space of the thawb: The intersection between fashion, traditional dress and Kuwaiti women's identity
This research examines the identity of Kuwaiti women in the context of dress. Specifically, it investigates the extent to which their lifestyle has been impacted by the recent economic boom stimulated by the oil trade. From a simple life governed by norms and social customs to a sudden influx of wealth and foreign cultural influence, the identity of the typical Kuwaiti woman is being transformed. Nowhere is this transformation more evident than in their dress. Through the lens of fashion, this thesis examines changes in Kuwaiti women’s identity via the traditional thawb over the past 65 years, and how the impact of historical events and economic change is reflected in its changing form.

This study proposes that the theory of fashion is grounded in social, behavioural science and economics theories, and it includes aspects of social class and behaviour (e.g. imitation, innovation) concerning disposable income. The researcher employed interviews as the major method for data collection with observation and analysis of visual evidence as supporting methods. Furthermore, the selection strategy was related to case studies and action research. Data was obtained via interviews with prominent Kuwaiti designers and a wholesaler of traditional dress. Thematic analysis was applied to identify the key themes that were then analysed to establish the nature of the relationship between fashion and the cultural identity of Kuwaiti women. The analysis of fashion trends in Kuwait revealed a significant shift in women’s fashion, indicating that a woman is able to utilise fashion to communicate her image and hence build her national and cultural identity. The relationship between fashion and identity manifested itself in two main ways— traditional dress and fashion. The study concludes with original designs for the thawb (the practical design element of this study), which represent and reflect both traditional and modern Kuwaiti female identities.
University of Southampton
Taleb, Rabah Yaqub
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Taleb, Rabah Yaqub
d0697bc2-1cfa-411e-97da-221be0b8fd9d
Hopkins, John
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Taleb, Rabah Yaqub (2018) Exploring the space of the thawb: The intersection between fashion, traditional dress and Kuwaiti women's identity. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 285pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This research examines the identity of Kuwaiti women in the context of dress. Specifically, it investigates the extent to which their lifestyle has been impacted by the recent economic boom stimulated by the oil trade. From a simple life governed by norms and social customs to a sudden influx of wealth and foreign cultural influence, the identity of the typical Kuwaiti woman is being transformed. Nowhere is this transformation more evident than in their dress. Through the lens of fashion, this thesis examines changes in Kuwaiti women’s identity via the traditional thawb over the past 65 years, and how the impact of historical events and economic change is reflected in its changing form.

This study proposes that the theory of fashion is grounded in social, behavioural science and economics theories, and it includes aspects of social class and behaviour (e.g. imitation, innovation) concerning disposable income. The researcher employed interviews as the major method for data collection with observation and analysis of visual evidence as supporting methods. Furthermore, the selection strategy was related to case studies and action research. Data was obtained via interviews with prominent Kuwaiti designers and a wholesaler of traditional dress. Thematic analysis was applied to identify the key themes that were then analysed to establish the nature of the relationship between fashion and the cultural identity of Kuwaiti women. The analysis of fashion trends in Kuwait revealed a significant shift in women’s fashion, indicating that a woman is able to utilise fashion to communicate her image and hence build her national and cultural identity. The relationship between fashion and identity manifested itself in two main ways— traditional dress and fashion. The study concludes with original designs for the thawb (the practical design element of this study), which represent and reflect both traditional and modern Kuwaiti female identities.

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Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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Published date: September 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423571
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423571
PURE UUID: 3f77eb3c-d9c4-422b-837a-15ab6a215f03

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Date deposited: 26 Sep 2018 16:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 18:02

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