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  • THE CREATION OF A MULTI-CULTURAL IDENTITY FOR WINDOW

    DISPLAYS IN DURBANS FASHION RETAIL SHOP FRONTS

    by

    SARAH CHRISTINE LICHKUS

    Student number:

    20517338

    Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the

    MASTERS DEGREE IN TECHNOLOGY:

    FASHION DESIGN

    in the

    DEPARTMENT OF FASHION AND TEXTILES

    Durban University of Technology

    Supervisor: Ms Farida Kadwa

    Co-supervisor: Professor Deirdre Pratt

    September 2011

    Approved for final submission:

    Supervisor: Ms Farida Kadwa

    Signed: _____________ Date: __________

  • i

    ABSTRACT

    The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility of creating shop window displays

    focussing on a South African identity in the Durban region. The impetus for the study

    stemmed from the design of the Constitutional Court which features elements of South

    African culture. This study challenges the contemporary notion of presenting window

    displays using primarily Western influences and proposes the use of fashion imagery and

    cultural identity currently dominating South Africa. The study argues against corporate

    fashion stereotypes and champions a representation of an eclectic multi-cultural South

    African society. In this respect key theories of identity, culture, and design were explored.

    A qualitative methodology was conducted utilising interview and observation approaches

    to obtain data. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve local professionals

    specialising in the fields of art, design, fashion and architecture to obtain their expert

    opinions. The data was analysed by clustering information into themes to establish the

    findings. Interview findings revealed that shop window displays should accommodate

    local imagery appropriate to the South African context. Observing two local production

    houses, namely Hirt & Carter and Barrows in Durban provided insights for a backdrop

    creation for the practical component of the study. The practical comprised of producing

    retail shop installations and a visual catalogue representing findings drawn from the study.

    The catalogue was used to illustrate the results of investigating a national image and

    identity that could be intrinsic to window display creation in South African fashion retail

    shop fronts.

  • ii

    DECLARATION

    I, the undersigned, hereby declare that the work contained in this thesis is my own original

    work and that all sources have been accurately reported and acknowledged, and that I have

    not previously in its entirety or in part submitted it at any university in order to obtain an

    academic qualification.

    The financial assistance of the National Research Foundation (NRF) towards this research

    is hereby acknowledged. Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at, are those of the

    author and are not necessarily to be attributed to the NRF.

    ____________________

    Sarah Christine Lichkus

    __________

    Date

  • iii

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    I wish to acknowledge and thank the following people for their help, guidance and

    inspiration in the writing of this dissertation.

    My supervisor, Farida Kadwa and co-supervisor Professor Deirdre Pratt for their guidance

    and assistance in the completion of this study.

    My family, especially my parents, for the encouragement and creative direction throughout

    the process of compiling this study.

    Friends and designers, Rowan Budlender, Kathrin Kidger and Rob Garret, for their

    extensive help and valuable skills in the development and final creation of shop windows

    and graphic visuals.

    All the willing participants for their valuable contribution towards the study.

    Special thanks to Doctor Lombardozzi for her encouragement and guidance.

    Special acknowledgement to Nirma Madhoo-Chipps as a source of inspiration in my

    related field.

  • iv

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    PAGE

    Abstract i

    Declaration ii

    Acknowledgements iii

    Table of contents iv

    List of figures and tables ix

    CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY

    1.1 Introduction 1

    1.2 Context of the research 1

    1.3 Purpose of the research 2

    1.4 Research approach and methodology 3

    1.5 The potential value of the research 4

    1.6 Practical component 5

    1.7 Outline of chapters 5

    1.8 Conclusion 6

    CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

    2.1 Introduction 8

    2.2 Postmodernism and fashion identity 8

    2.3 Western influences on fashion 11

    2.3.1 The domination of American brands 11

    2.3.2 The process of creolisation 12

  • v

    2.3.3 Inclusion of indigenous elements in product image 14

    2.3.4 Globalisation 14

    2.3.5 Product branding in South Africa 15

    2.3.6 Integration of both indigenous and modern influences 15

    2.4 Visual culture 15

    2.5 South African shopping malls and retail outlets 17

    2.6 Visual merchandising of display windows 18

    2.6.1 Fashion brand merchandising 20

    2.6.2 Graphic design elements in product identity 21

    2.6.3 Design in visual merchandising 22

    2.7 The design of the Constitutional Court of South Africa 25

    2.7.1 The Constitutional Court design approach and concept 26

    2.8 Popular culture 30

    2.9 Art used to complement displays 31

    2.10 Ethnic and cultural influences 32

    2.11 Fantasy elements in fashion identity 33

    2.12 Conclusion 34

    CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY

    3.1 Introduction 35

    3.2 Research orientation 35

    3.3 Research design and methodology 38

    3.3.1 Case study method 38

    3.3.2 Sampling 38

  • vi

    3.3.3 Research instruments used 40

    3.3.4 Semi-structured interviews 40

    3.3.5 Observation 41

    3.4 Pilot study 41

    3.5 Data analysis 42

    3.5.1 Preliminary organisation in sorting the data 43

    3.5.2 Perusal of data in searching for meanings 43

    3.5.3 Organisation of data into themes 44

    3.5.4 Synthesis of data in forming patterns/theories 44

    3.6 Reliability and validity 44

    3.7 Ethical concerns 45

    3.8 Artefact design process 46

    3.9 Conclusion 48

    CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS

    4.1 Introduction 49

    4.2 Participant and production house profiles 49

    4.2.1 Garth Walker 49

    4.2.2 Greg Wallis 50

    4.2.3 Dion Chang 50

    4.2.4 Andrew Verster 50

    4.2.5 Pieter de Groot 51

    4.2.6 Janina Masojada 51

    4.2.7 Renato Palmi 52

  • vii

    4.2.8 Sandra Burke 52

    4.2.9 Karen Monk-Klijnstra 52

    4.2.10 Kathrin Kidger 53

    4.2.11 Lorraine Parkes 53

    4.2.12 Megan Andrews 53

    4.2.13 Hirt & Carter 54

    4.2.14 Barrows 54

    4.3 Results of using the clustering process 55

    4.3.1 Producing transcripts 55

    4.3.2 Creating narratives 55

    4.3.3 Exploration of identities, ideas and issues by the interviewees 55

    4.3.4 Challenging issues confronting the interviewees in their 57

    specialised fields

    4.3.5 Marketability of a more contemporary South African shop display 59

    4.3.6 Identifying with a multi-cultural society 61

    4.3.7 Trends in Durban 65

    4.3.8 Imports 65

    4.3.9 Environmental issues 66

    4.3.10 Interrelationship between art and design 67

    4.3.11 Summing up of key points in the narratives 69

    4.4 Organising the data into themes 71

    4.5 Synthesis of data in forming patterns/theories 73

    4.6 Conclusion 75

  • viii

    CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    5.1 Introduction 76

    5.2 How aims and objectives were met 76

    5.2.1 Fashion imagery and identity currently dominating South African 76

    window displays

    5.2.2 Cultural aspects reflecting a South African image and identity 77

    5.2.3 How a South African image and identity can inform 78

    window displays

    5.3 Techniques informing the design process 78

    5.4 Recommendations 78

    5.4.1 Implementation of design projects 79

    5.4.2 Directions for future research 79

    5.5 Conclusion 80

    CHAPTER 6: PRACTICAL COMPONENT

    6.1 Introduction 82

    6.2 Practical component: Impressions of an African city, Durban 82

    6.3 Theme one: Journeys through the rainbow nation 83

    6.4 Theme two: Vodacom Durban July 85

    6.5 Theme three: Nature 85

    6.6 Theme four: 2010 Celebration 86

    6.7 Theme five: Kathrin Kidger retail store, La Lucia mall, Durban 87

    6.7.1 Suggested improvements for the Durban region 88

    6.8 Conclusion 88

  • ix

    LIST OF FIGURES

    Figure 2.1 Anthropologie store 24

    Figure 2.2 YDE store windows 25

    Figure 2.3 Visual of the entrance and artwork of the Constitutional Court 27

    Figure 2.4 The foyer of the Constitutional Court 28

    Figure 2.5 Wirework sculptures 29

    Figure 2.6 Making democracy work: linocut 29

    Figure 2.