“Just because it looks cool”? An exploration of young people’s reasons for shopping second hand clothing

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By Caroline Sprangers

I moved to Amsterdam this summer, August 2016. When coming to a new place to live there is always a lot to take in and a lot that is different. One of the things I noticed my first days when biking around the city was the amount of second hand stores. Having a personal interest for second hand clothing I was naturally happy about the discovery. I couldn’t believe how many stores there were! And not only stores, but also markets and special events dedicated to second hand clothing. As a sociology student it also got me thinking – the flourishing market of second-hand clothing is made possible because there is a customer demand, so what reasons do people have for shopping for second hand clothing? Why is it attractive? How come it’s popular? These thoughts motivated me to look deeper into the second hand shopping scene. Continue reading

For the Love of Hair: The Natural Hair Movement in the Netherlands

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By Kimberly Mayes

As a woman of color, when it comes down to your hair you get judged a lot:

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  • when you cut it, you’re so ungrateful of what you have
  • when you braid it, you must be old-fashioned and only hanging on to your roots or even an Erykah Badu-wannabe
  • when it’s long and thick, it must be fake… uh not
  • when you straight your hair, you’re not honoring what you got (ethnic issues)
  • when you dye it, you must be ashamed of your real hair color (and only trying to fit in)

Been there, done that, tried tons of different hairstyles, 20-something and I’m still me. As India Arie early on said I’m not my hair. Yes it’s part of who i am, but it doesn’t define my true existence. The expressions of my heart do. Dig deeper…

Love,

Q

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Out of the closet: Gay youth identity performance and resistance via fashion

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By Elli-Anne Karras

My first ethnography began with a desire to find out whether a collective style sensibility exists within the gay community. I rifled through ‘the closet’ in search of how clothing choices relate to self-expression and contribute to gay youth identity formation. Sedgwick examines the closet as a symbol of secrecy surrounding gay-self-disclosure. She calls it ‘the defining structure for gay oppression in this century’ (1991: 71). In this context, clothes can play a significant role in the process of disclosure of sexual orientation; they are indeed the first thing to ‘come out of the closet’. In addition, clothing creates a powerful mode of resistant self-expression. In this paper, I will closely examine the construction of the self through stylized identity performance. My depth-interviews with gay youth in their twenties as well as qualitative observations revealed that a collective gay subcultural style does not exist. But while each one’s personal narrative varies, their style performances do share the same specific youthful search for a stable identity in opposition to the postmodern state of a self constantly in flux. Continue reading

Beyond hipster: The meaning of style in an elusive subculture

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By Keesje Heldoorn

There are many definitions of the hipster, however rarely do two writers agree. Most articles about hipsters provide a list of characteristics and interests. Fashion items such as thick-rimmed glasses, skinny jeans and trucker hats are mentioned. As are preferred modes of transportation (fixed gear bicycle and used sedans) and favoured beverages such as locally brewed organic coffee and PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon, a brand of beer). Based on these characteristics everyone seems to be able to point out a hipster when passing one on the street, but when asked to give a definition no one really knows. The hipster seems to be everywhere and nowhere at once. When turning to the internet for some clarification this is what I find: ‘Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20s and 30s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence and witty banter’ (Urban Dictionary). According to Wikipedia, Hipster refers to a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle-class adults and older teenagers that appeared in the 1990s. The subculture is associated with independent music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility, liberal or independent political views, alternative spirituality or atheism, and alternative lifestyles. Whatever definition used, when googling the word hipster it seems as if everyone agrees on one thing: they all hate hipsters. Continue reading

The world of vintage bloggers

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By Stevie Michelle Greenleaf

Abstract: The vintage scene has exploded in recent decades, riding a wave of fascination with many desirable aspects of the past. Some of the most dedicated followers of this trend are vintage bloggers, who devote their time and resources to creating an accurate revival of the previous decades. In this paper, I question where this motivation for living a ‘vintage-lifestyle’ comes from, and whether it arises as a response to disappointment with aspects of modern life. Through in-depth interviews with a selection of such bloggers, and an analysis of their online posts, I seek to identify the extent to which the emerging vintage scene is fuelled by a sense of ‘loss’ for a time gone by, exploring: the appeal of vintage; sentiments of nostalgia; the search for authenticity; resistance to mass consumerism; and technological anachronisms within the subculture. Continue reading

Being popular in every arena: How models strategically transfer capital over different fields

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By Kaj Dekker

Abstract: In this paper I analyze the glitter and glamour of the model lifestyle, and more specifically the occupation-as-identity of Dutch female young models, by drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field and capital. While probing into stereotypical images of models, I show how they use certain strategies to move through expectations in such a way as to suit their own interests. I argue that models are not only able to generate social, cultural and symbolic capital, but can also use this capital to gain success in other fields besides the field of modeling. Through interviews with four models who recently quit this capital-rich occupation, I show how they use their strategic agency to profile themselves as a model, deal with the stereotypes, interact with other models, cope with the high demands posed by the modeling agency, and finally make the decision to quit. Continue reading