Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, Department of
Striving Towards Authenticity in the Self Through Dress and Appearance: Stories of Latina Adolescent Immigrants
Date of this Version
Published in Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 2022
We sought to explore how Latina adolescent immigrants experience immigration across adolescence as they seek to know and express their authentic selves through dress and appearance. Our work was informed by theories of acculturation, identity, and authenticity. Participants included 12 immigrant women who identified as Latina and who immigrated before age 16. Open-ended interviews focused on participants’ memories of their immigration experiences during adolescence. Data were analyzed using constant comparison processes. Findings revealed that, for participants, the typical challenges of adolescence were complicated by immigration that included constructing an authentic identity at the intersection of two cultures. Immigration produced a disjointed dance towards authenticity with many uneven steps, sharp turns, and the occasional reversal. Dress was a key means for the expression of the authentic self; a self that communicated to the culture of settlement who they were and how their culture of origin was part of their authentic self.
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