CFP: Fashion and Freaks and Monsters symposium

Andy Reilly's picture
January 30, 2020
Hawaii, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Popular Culture Studies, Sexuality Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Fashion And ... Symposium Series

2020 Symposium


Fashion and Freaks and Monsters

September 3 & 4, 2020

University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa


About the symposium:


This international, interdisciplinary symposium will be the tenth in the established series of "Fashion and..." academic symposia which in past years have taken up topics including design, the body, media, gender, aging, social responsibility, and communication.


This year’s theme—freaks and monsters—focuses on fashion/dress/style and its connections to the odd, the fanciful, the freakish, and the monstrous. Fashion, accessories, body art and modification, costuming, and art/fashion crossovers have challenged norms and pushed social boundaries for centuries.  From the Renaissance fashion for memento mori accessories, to Elsa Schiaparelli’s shoe hat, Alexander McQueen's 1996 Inferno collection, recent collections for Valentino that draw inspiration from the works of Hieronymous Bosch and Edgar Allen Poe, and Camp: Notes on Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, fashion, art and literature cross and meld in their fascinations with the bizarre.  Today, Sissies of Mercy declares "Goth is back from the dead”, Susie Bick invites her fashion followers to "be wonderful and be strange," and others prepare for the end of the world in war-core fashion.


Today and across history, bodies and what is on and around them express or are seen as expressing the strange, the imaginative and the fanciful, the apocalyptic and the dystopic, the morally ambiguous, socially unacceptable or what over history, has unfortunately been deemed the freakish or the monstrous. Fashion at the boundaries challenges norms, creates novelty, marks, explores, and pushes social boundaries, poses social and moral questions.  Outsider fashion has been inspired by art, has become art itself, has been celebrated for its hedonistic or playful elements. Outsider fashion has also, over history, provoked disapproval, repression, has been seen as freakishness, and sometimes led to incarceration, when bodies and/or what they wore did not fit the cultural, social, gendered, medical, or psychiatric norms of their day.  Always in play beyond the surface of fashion are constructed notions of the body, gender, health and community norms.



To submit an abstract

You are invited to submit an abstract for the 2020 Fashion and… symposium.  All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and accepted presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes in length.  Publishing opportunities will be announced at a future date. 


Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Fashion and bodies on the edge; pushing the envelope of acceptability in any area (gender, morality, class, etc.), historically or contemporarily 
  • Art/fashion crossovers: fashion as art/art as fashion
  • Body modifications and alternate non-human identities
  • Photography, advertising, and bodies at the limits
  • Fashion/art and the asylum
  • Freak show and fairground fashion
  • Avant-garde fashion and costuming for theatre, ballet, and performance
  • Dark dressing (Hell and death themes, goth, cybergoth, etc.)
  • Accessorizing the bizarre
  • Preparing for the end of the world: apocalypse-inspired fashion lines, dystopian visions and war-core
  • Fashion models as “freaks of nature”
  • Monstrous fashion industry practices (e.g., dodgy ethics, greenwashing, sweatshop labor)
  • Original designs and textiles based on the theme

Submit an abstract of 500-1000 words as a Word attachment to Andy Reilly ( and Kathryn Hoffmann ( using the format below:




 [Title of Presentation]

[Your Name]

[Your Affiliation]

[Your Email Address]


[insert abstract of 500-1000 words here]




[insert references here]




Important dates:


  • January 30, 2020:  Abstracts due for priority review; abstracts received after this date will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • March 15, 2020:  Participant notification
  • April 1, 2020:  Registration opens
Contact Info: 

Dr. Andy Reilly

Contact Email: