Leeds Beckett University
SerendipitouslyLudicSpacesVintageFashionFairsThroughTheLensOfCriticalSpatialTheory-PUGH.pdf (5.1 MB)

Serendipitously Ludic Spaces: Vintage fashion fairs through the Lens of Critical Spatial Theory.

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posted on 2022-06-28, 14:53 authored by Esther PughEsther Pugh
This thesis argues that it has never been more important to understand the spatial bene fits or ‘serendipitously ludic’ experiences of fashion consumption in bricks and mortar spaces, with traditional retail facing an existential threat from online. Spatiality is funda mental to the shopping experience, especially when shopping for vintage fashion items. However, space is often undervalued in contemporary thought as it is invisible and intan gible. This research investigates critical spatial theory, finding that space is not a negative container, but a positive and palpable force surrounding human activity; with physical, mental, social and temporal dimensions. Critical spatial theory has been applied to educa tional buildings, care homes and hospitals, but what has not been researched in depth is shopping spaces. The vintage fashion fair is becoming ubiquitous, offering an alternative to mainstream retail, exemplifying symbolic and experiential post-modern consumption, and enacted in liquid spaces where individual and collective identities are forged. How ever, despite the increasing prevalence of such second-hand, travelling spaces of con sumption, there is scant literature addressing their spatialities. This research aims to fill this gap; advancing critical spatial theory by applying it to the United Kingdom (UK) vin tage fashion fair to create new knowledge. The thesis will demonstrate how critical spatial theory, synthesised with consumer culture theory can be extended to create new knowledge of contemporary consumption space. It will investigate how consumers experi ence space at vintage fashion fairs, and create new understanding of these consumption spaces, making it possible to design spaces which are better for everyone, despite all consumers having unique perceptions. This research combines phenomenology and nar rative enquiry, to understand the actual lived experience of space at the vintage fashion fair. In-depth interviews were held with ten ‘Serious Leisure Vintage Fashionistas’; using digital participant-driven-photographic-elicitation techniques, as a stimulus to draw out their unique personal stories. The interview transcripts were analysed by repeated reading and note-taking, identifying over a hundred codes, and organising them into six umbrella themes, extracting their meaning, and reducing these to their spatial essences. Contributions to knowledge, are a typology of vintage fashion retail spaces; a spatial typol ogy of vintage fashion fairs; a taxonomy of vintage fashion fair practices; a digital photo graphic methodological process, and ultimately, ‘Spatial Fabric’; a metaphorical conceptual model of space with physical, mental, social and temporal strands, woven together; with a warp of security and a weft of freedom. Spatial Fabric advances scholarly knowledge and has practical applications for retailers and practitioners whose success depends on weaving satisfying and experiential spaces.


Qualification name

  • PhD


Ian Lamond

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


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