Body acts queer : Clothing as a performative challenge to heteronormativity

Abstract: This artistic, practice-based thesis has been developed based on the idea that design creates social and ideological change. From this perspective, Body Acts Queer — Clothing as a performative challenge to heteronormativity introduces an artistic way of working with and exploring the performative and ideological functions of clothing with regard to gender, feminism, and queer. The thesis presents this program for experimental fashion design—exemplified through a series of artistic projects—while also discussing the foundations of such an approach and the different perspectives that have affected the program and its artistic examples. Working with clothing and fashion design through artistic projects using text and bodies, this thesis transforms queer and feminist theory into a creative process and, by looking into bodily experiences of clothing, Body Acts Queer investigates its performative and ideological functions, with a focus on cultural, social, and heteronormative structures. Body Acts Queer suggests a change in the ways in which bodies act, are perceived, and are produced within the fashion field, giving examples of—and alternatives to—how queer design practice can be performed. In this thesis, queer design is explored as an inclusive term, containing ideas about clothing and language, the meeting point between fiction and reality, and the ability to perform interpretation and bodily transformations—where pleasure, bodily experiences, and interaction create a change.