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Consuming Nostalgia: Are Vintage Clothing Consumers Caught in the Past?

Sat, August 12, 4:30 to 5:30pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Floor: Level 5, 520A


A number of scholars have discussed what it means for consumers to purchase and wear vintage clothing. A common assumption is that vintage clothing consumers are nostalgic; that they are caught in the past, perhaps longing to live in an earlier time period. Empirical research has confirmed that there is something about the historicity of vintage clothing that draws consumers, but there is little research that has asked vintage clothing wearers what the past means to them as it is embodied in the historicity of their vintage clothing. This paper explores the different meanings of nostalgia and asks whether, and how these different meanings of nostalgia are expressed by vintage clothing consumers. The preliminary findings presented here on the meaning of nostalgia for vintage consumers is based on the results from a 60-question survey of 145 vintage clothing consumers, asking them about the meanings they associate with vintage shopping and wearing vintage apparel.


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