Western Brand Hegemony and the Rise of the Crafting Consumer: The Case of Modest Women in Kuwait

Yasmin Khan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The central question guiding this research is 'how do modest Kuwaiti women mediate the tensions they experience when consuming Western branded fashion?’ Two additional questions posed to aid this research were: a) What are the tensions associated with the consumption of Western branded fashion, and b) how do women mediate these tensions? A multi-method research design included semi-structured interviews with 47 women, observations, visual material and secondary documentary material. In addition, an historical analysis was conducted across 2 generations to identify the social, economic and religious developments which have impacted women’s consumption practices and to contextualise the tensions which modest women experience in a fashion system which has become dominated by Western brands.
Using Institutional theory as a lens, 3 institutions were analysed across 4 eras- the religious institution, the market institution and the state institution. Two key tensions were identified between the logics of two institutions. Firstly, the tension between the religious logic of modesty and the field of fashion’s logic of art- brought to Kuwait through the market institution and its logic of global consumer culture. The second tension was related to the element of individuality within the market institution’s logic of global consumer culture. The manner by which women negotiate the tensions they experience when consuming Western branded fashion was identified as the revival of a historical practice of tailoring. Two variations in this practice, each with its specific mechanisms were also identified- centred on the rise of the Crafting Consumer and the rise of a new logic, ultimately leading to the formation of an alternative market to balance women’s relationship with the dominant market.

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Maclaran, Pauline, Supervisor
  • Chatzidakis, Andreas, Supervisor
Award date4 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Crafting Consumer
  • Kuwait
  • Modest Women
  • Islam
  • Alternative Market
  • Resistance
  • Fashion
  • Branding
  • Global Brands

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