A Queer History of Fashion
Image: Marlene Dietrich in Morocco (1930). Her penchant for wearing men’s clothing off-screen as well as on had a profound influence on women’s fashion.
The Museum at the Fashion Instiution of Technology’s exhibition A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk was one of the first museum exhibitions to explore in depth the significant contributions to fashion made by LGBTQ individuals of the past 300 years.
Video: John Bartlett discusses the change in menswear from 1990s to today. Courtesy of MFIT.
Gays and lesbians have long been “hidden from history”—including the history of fashion. “Reclaiming the gay and lesbian past” involves more than simply recognizing that some individual fashion designers happened to be gay. It is also necessary to explore the complex historical links between sexuality, society, and culture. Research shows that fashion has been a significant site of gay cultural production for more than 300 years. In addition, gay culture has been central to the creation of modern fashion.
Celebrate Pride Month with a look back on MFIT’s ground-breaking exhibition that aimed to bring to light an alternative history of fashion — one that takes into account the contributions, both individual and collective, of generations of LGBTQ people. From videos and interactive image libraries, to online essays written by some of the foremost scholars of gay history and fashion, explore how gay culture is central to the creation of modern fashion.
Find out more on the MFIT website.