Fashionable and Transgressive: Queer Style and Masculinities in Contemporary Indian Fashion

Start - End 
2018 - 2024 (ongoing)
Department of Literary Studies
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Region 
Research Language 
Additional tags 
Gender studies
Queer studies
Postcolonial studies
Visual studies
fashion studies



This empirical research aims to explore the process of negotiating queer aesthetics while challenging hegemonic structures in contemporary Indian fashion. Contemporary representations of the predominant notions of manliness have defined the social and cultural narratives that allow men to participate in society as full-fledged players. As for those men who contravene or do not fully conform to these narratives—i.e., those who are classified as non-masculine, queer, MSM and TG—a majority have been sidelined and disregarded by mainstream culture. My dissertation helps uncover the complexity of non-heteronormative identity production by looking into aesthetic practices that transgress binary thinking. The objective is thus to visualize the spectrum of queer identities within and across local cultures and media. An experimental approach to visual ethnographic methods allows me to develop an innovative methodology to the study of fashion styles, one which embeds them in a cultural context that is reinforced by identity politics. At the same time, and through visual text production, I aim to register the presence of a variety of distinct queer styles in everyday Indian life, and to document how queer aesthetics subvert preconceptions of gender identity and performance in visual culture, thereby reshaping conventional perceptions of manliness in the postcolonial context.



Phd Student(s)