New consumers? The social and cultural significance of children's fashion consumption

This paper explores children’s consumption of fashion, arguing it to be an increasingly socially and culturally significant phenomenon. Key issues include: the expansion of the childrenswear market and the corresponding roles of children as consumers of it; the ways in which children use clothing in the construction and embodied expression of their identities, and; how fashion consumption relates to power dynamics and generational boundaries between adults (specifically parents) and children. Further to this, this paper also seeks to redress what the authors feel is missing in the literature on children's consumption so far -- namely children's own voices, experiences and meanings, considered as giving equally valuable insights to social scientists as those of their parents and other significant adults. The paper draws on research from focus groups with parents and ethnographic work with children (aged 6 -11) which forms part of the study entitled 'New Consumers? Children, Fashion and Consumption' funded under the ESRC/AHRB Cultures of Consumption research programme.

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