Memories reminisced, reconciled, renewed: Hong Kong male consumers’ wardrobes and their search for a congruent self
Previous research on fashion, clothing and accessorising practices typically stressed either the symbolic and identity-creating or practical and habitual functions of fashion, often neglecting its affective, emotive and mnemonic aspects. Drawing on affective theory and the agency of things, we theorise how the affects, feelings and emotions attached to active and inactive fashion objects evoke and are evoked by the consumer’s ongoing reminiscence, reconciliation, and renewal of memories. Remapping the intricate relationship among consumers, memory, affect, and fashion objects, this article employs wardrobe study interviews to reconceptualise the clothing consumption, storage and disposal practices of male fashion consumers in Hong Kong and their trans-temporal self-memory-object relationships. Interviewing 21 gay male participants while physically going through their wardrobes together reveals the mnemonic abilities of clothes and accessories to bring up the past, their functioning as emotive devices, and the process of how affective, unpatterned feelings and sensations are reminisced, reconciled and renewed through fashion. These unique theoretical and methodological approaches make it possible to delve deeper into consumers’ intimate material and sensual relationships with clothing and accessory items, which are often used to make sense of incongruent memories and future fantasies, also enabling their ongoing mediation of unresolved affective experiences and curation of a linear cultural script of personal development.
1 Dec 2022 – 31 Jan 2023
Journal title, volume/issue number, page range
Journal of Consumer Culture, 0(0): 1-22.
Gender and Identity