Jingrui Hu

MA Digital Media and Society (Distinction)

Pronouns: She/her
  • Research Student

Jingrui joined Loughborough University in 2017 and was awarded an MA with distinction in Digital Media and Society in 2018. She commenced her PhD studies in January 2020.

Before joining academia, Jingrui dedicated eight years to her role as an editor at People's Daily Online. Additionally, she has been a trader of vintage costume jewellery in China since 2012.

Lovely Little Things': Materiality, Value, and Distinction in the Cross-cultural Consumption of Vintage Costume Jewellery in Modern China

PhD SupervisorsDr Thomas Thurnell-Read and Dr Adrian Leguina

In the last decade, vintage fashion has become a trend in both Western countries and China. While many studies have focused on the consumption of vintage goods in a Western context, little attention has been paid to investigating the consumption of vintage products in a cross-cultural context. This research uses vintage costume jewellery (VCJ) from the West as research objects to explore its consumption in China and investigate why Chinese consumers purchase jewellery from bygone fashions of the West and how Western manufacturers construct the value of the jewellery.

Jingrui conducted fieldwork and interviews with manufacturers in the US (Manhattan of New York City, Florida) and with traders and consumers in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Tianjin, Ningbo) in 2021. She also conducted online participant observation with Chinese traders to explore how they narrate and sell their VCJs to consumers via WeChat business. The combination of these methods has allowed her to follow the commodity chain of VCJ, from its production in the US to its consumption in China, and to explore how the transaction of VCJ is achieved.

This research contributes to understanding the emergence of vintage jewellery in China against a backdrop of social, economic, and cultural changes. It intricately connects this trend with the broader narrative of China's economic reforms since 1978 and the globalisation process.

Hu, J. and Thurnell-Read, T. (2022), "Authenticity, Distinction and Value in the Narratives of Chinese Consumers of Vintage Costume Jewellery", Heřmanová, M., Skey, M. and Thurnell-Read, T. (Ed.) Cultures of Authenticity, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 137-152. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-936-220221010