We Are the Luxury, Not Your Products: A Critical Structurational Analysis of Black Consumer Experiences in Contemporary/Luxury Retail Stores

Xavier D. Clark

Advisor: Anne M. Nicotera, PhD, Department of Communication

Committee Members: Richard Craig, Timothy Gibson

Horizon Hall, #5225
April 25, 2023, 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM


The effects of racism and exclusion against Black people in the United States have mostly been studied and disentangled in areas such as health care, economics, social services, and education. There is a concerning lack of communication-related research that examines how these problems affect Black people in non-traditional settings, such as the fashion industry. This study is rooted in the contention that the time is right to investigate the ways in which the fashion industry excludes, marginalizes, and dispossesses BIPOC people—in our instance, Black bodies—of their humanity. Through the lenses of Structuration Theory, Critical Race Theory (CRT), and Symbolic Violence this dissertation investigates how systemic racism emerges for Black bodies in the fashion industry and how it functions inside this organizational body.