“Queer Style” can be taken as a portmaneteau term for all signifiers of body and dress related to LGBTQIA communities, but also to mark out form of identity signification that diverges from heteronormative values of image creation. While this definition may at first appear unwieldy, it has a generally agreed upon set of qualities that relate historically to the rise and “creation” of homosexuality at the end of the nineteenth century and that of lesbian identity a little after that. Queer style is, however, not reducible to sexual practices, just as sex and gender are never exact equivalents. Rather queer style can be understood as a set of variables around dress, body, and identity that suggest lack of conformity with normative sexual values, and the valorizing of the artificial over the natural. As such, queer style makes use of sartorial signifiers in a highly rhetorical-performative as opposed to utlitiraian way, from the figure of the dandy, through to the use of punk and fetishwear, to the adoption of “clones” as in the gay cowboy. Contemporary fashion is heavily reliant on the history and tropes of queer style, especially with the growing presence of gender-fluidity and cyborg identities.
What will students learn from this unit?
This course will assist in the navigating the diverse histories and signifiers of queer style and its importance to shaping and asserting unconventional gender roles from modernity to the present.
Which courses will this unit be relevant for?
Fashion Studies, Fashion Design, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Philosophy, History, Political Science, Sociology