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About the event

Fashion is performance of the self. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated,” writes Oscar Wilde, a queer fashionista. While queer designers and people of color have contributed tremendously to the history of fashion, there has been a rueful dearth of public awareness about and scholarly attention to fashion for queer and racialized bodies. Intending to narrow the gap between scholarly and mainstream (“industry”) discourses regarding intersectionality, the emerging field of minoritarian and queer fashion studies draws on critical race theory, gender and sexuality theory, media studies, performance studies, anthropology, art history, and other relevant disciplines to re-examine racialized and queer bodies in fashion and re-evaluate contributions from minoritarian and queer fashion designers.

In this lunch-time roundtable, four scholars from four different academic disciplines will shed light on the current state of the field from academic and pedagogic perspectives. Fashion Studies Director at the Graduate Center, Eugenia Paulicelli, will also join the panel as the moderator and discussant.

Minh-Ha T. Pham (Media Studies, Pratt Institute) will consider how social media interactions and architectures create and enforce extra-legal norms about the copying, distribution, and use of fashion that impact fashion market relations and outcomes.

Monica L. Miller (English and Africana Studies, Barnard College) will discuss online platforms run by young black feminists in Sweden, one of which is Krull—the only fashion platform for and by AfroSwedes, and interrogate the role of dress and beauty cultures in the formation of one of the newest Afro-diasporic populations within an officially “raceless” country.

Sissi Liu (Theatre and Performance, the Graduate Center, CUNY) will explore queer fashion as dramaturgy in the case of Machine Dazzle, the fashion and “living costume-set” designer for Taylor Mac’s award-winning 24-Decade History of Popular Music. She will propose a DIY fashion activism future at the grass roots level, where anyone can design one’s own performance fashion that goes beyond the everyday.

Kimberly Jenkins (Fashion Studies, Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design) will focus on fashion pedagogy and talk about “Fashion and Race,” a new course at Parsons School of Designthat examines the ways in which fashioned identities emerge within a racialized context in effort to gain access, visibility and power. She will attempt to identify and remedy problematic issues in the fashion system, proposing possible futures.

Co-sponsored by The James Gallery, The Martin Segal Theatre Center, the PhD Program in Theatre and Performance at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and M.A. Liberal Studies Program in Fashion Studies at the Graduate Center, CUNY.



Sissi Liu

Presidential Research Fellow for The James Gallery