School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 14160
Finnish man's identity work through luxury fashion discourses
Author: Uimonen, Terhi
Title: Finnish man's identity work through luxury fashion discourses
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; muoti; fashion; ylellisyystavarat; luxury goods; miehet; men; Suomi; Finland; identiteetti; identity; diskurssianalyysi; discourse analysis
Pages: 76
Key terms: identity work; identity; discourse analysis; luxury fashion; discourse
Luxury fashion is one of the most profitable industries of the modern world. After some years of rapid growth the industry is, however, facing new challenges and estimated to become more customer-centric. Thus, this research seeks to provide a deeper understanding on the client segment of Finnish men and shed light on how they perceive luxury brands through investigating the language and discourses used in their identity work.

The literature review gives an overview of luxury fashion, brand meanings and identity work through presenting some findings of previous research and building a link between all the relevant concepts. To extend this knowledge, the study continues with a qualitative research based on eight interviews with Finnish male consumers. The interviewees represent different backgrounds and different experiences and views on luxury fashion. The interview data was transcribed and analyzed by using the method of discourse analysis.

Based on the interpretation and analysis of the data, eight thematic discourses were formed and are introduced under the findings of the research. The discussion finally combines the themes into three discursive main orientations representing the key concepts identified from the findings. The first orientation, cultural virtue of a modest, practical consumer serves as the main identity crafted through language, describing how men strive to behave and appear following a deeply rooted identity of an honest, rational male consumer. The second orientation, identity work through social integration and differentiation illustrates how in order to gain approval from other people, especially friends, Finnish male clients adjust their consumption to match the perceived attitudes of the group. Through this behavior they avoid negative comments, differentiate from undesirable reference groups and form identities in align with the desired groups. The third orientation, luxury as an indicator of social status and identity describes how the consumers shape two dimensions based on status and identity. Average, normal Finnish men seem to belong to the first, lower dimension which values modesty. The second dimension is for wealthy, famous people who live a luxurious life, which can't be reached by an average consumer.

By these findings the research contributes to the consumer culture theory by presenting a multitude of voices and subjective realities in the context of luxury fashion and Finnish male consumers, supported by the previous literature. These findings may also provide valuable insight for the Finnish luxury fashion industry in facing the tightening competition and overcoming future challenges.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.