The creation of a multi-cultural identity for window displays in Durban's fashion retail shop fronts
Lichkus, Sarah Christine
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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.