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The hoodie: Consumer choice, fashion style and symbolic meaning

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Abstract

The death of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Florida in 2012 not only drew public attention to vigilante justice, but also generated public discussion and debate on various issues related to popular culture, race and identity. One item of clothing – the hoodie – attracted massive media interest in this regard. In this exploratory study, the hoodie was used as a vehicle to investigate and illuminate how meanings are produced and perceived. According to the findings of this study, the choice to wear a hoodie can be based solely on such comfort factors as warmth and breathability, but it may also be intended to manifest an individual’s choice or taste. In addition, the study reveals that viewers’ interpretations of an individual’s appearance are not always accurate or aligned with the wearer’s intentions. Without fully understanding the wearer’s intentions and considering situational and contextual factors, misunderstanding, stereotyping, stigmatizing or even demonizing of a person may occur.
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... One informant (P10) did not report his age, two fell into the age range of 51-60, seven were 61-70 and three were 71-80 of age. Open-ended questions were utilised to avoid prejudice and bias (Easterby-Smith et al., 2008), as well as to allow informants to use their own words in expressing viewpoints, describing experiences and explaining ambiguities associated with their daily activities and consumption habits (Rahman, 2015(Rahman, , 2016. In addition, further investigative and clarifying questions were used to elucidate and explicate the meanings of informants' responses. ...
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