“Fashion” has been conceptualised as material object, abstract concept, phenomenon, system, cultural value or norm or attitude (Kawamura, 2011). Clothing and fashion represent a US$1.3tn industry as well as being integral to our social selves. The recent political and media narrative is overwhelming of fashion’s negative environmental and social impact. The fashion industry is considered the second most damaging industry (after oil) (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017) linked to the climate crisis and devastating future scenarios under the current fashion system.
Fashion is a key factor in framing identity, particularly during adolescence. The changes experienced during adolescence affect well-being, social identity and social relations (Patton and Viner, 2007). The exponential increase in use of social media, of which fashion imagery is a major category, has resulted in anecdotal, and research evidence, of negative self-concept related to posting and viewing fashion images of self and others. For those with higher fashion involvement there may be stronger negative self-concept and lower life satisfaction. Menopause is another life transition when changes in body, emotion and identity present challenges to wellbeing.
Positive psychology explores the capacity of individuals, organisations and communities to facilitate and experience optimal wellbeing (Pawelski, 2016; Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) and is also posited as a means to achieving the SDGs (Schultes, Bergsmann and Brandt, 2019).
This research project takes a transdisciplinary approach to personal and public practices of fashion working with individuals at the critical life stages of adolescence and menopause to investigate the positive power of fashion to enhance wellbeing and deliver a fashion industry for the common good. By examining the relationships between fashion involvement, consumption and life satisfaction it aims to develop evidence-based interventions that address specific sustainable development goals e.g. SDG3 (good health and wellbeing) and SDG12 (responsible consumption and production) and thereby creating shared value (Porter and Kramer).
How to Apply This project is available as a 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time PhD study programme with an expected start date of 1 May or 1 October 2020.
Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.
Applicants are expected to find external funding sources to cover the tuition fees and living expenses. Alumni and International students new to GCU who are self-funding are eligible for fee discounts. See more on fees and funding. View Website.