Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Heejin Lim

Committee Members

Michelle Childs, Stefanie Benjamin, Daniel J. Flint


This study utilizes a feminist perspective to share the stories of women in fashion as they navigate their careers in conjunction with intersecting forms of identity and appearance. I seek to understand the lived experiences of the women throughout their obstacles, privileges and perceptions of social structures that uphold a unique horizontally female segregated, vertically male segregated industry. Specifically, this study critiques the systems that inhibit career growth through gender and racial inequity, power imbalance and appearance expectations. A method of in-depth interviews analyzed through a hybrid reflexive thematic analysis approach was triangulated with photo data analysis to unpack gender and based appearance experiences in fashion. The three themes revealed in this study include: (1) The Impact of Gender Inequality in Leadership on Organizational Culture, (2) Brand Standards and Industry Norms Influence Appearance and Dress, and (3) Gender Inequality is Not Equal for All Women.

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