Out on the Shelves LGBT Fashion
Fashion and homosexuality has been linked throughout history not only by using clothes to signal sexual orientation but also by the enormous contribution made by gay men to the fashion industry. There is an excellent introduction to the subject by Shaun Cole in the Encyclopaedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer culture at www.glbtq.com/arts/fashion,3.html
In the Library of Birmingham, there is a wide range of stock on this subject some of which you may browse through in a special Fashion Collection on the open shelves. Most of the items are kept in the store and are indicated by the letter A e.g. AQ746.92 . Please request these books at the enquiry desk.
LGBT Fashion Reading List
What is she like: lesbian identities from the 1950s to the 1990s, 1995
306.7663 Women's Collection
Blackman, Inge and Perry, Kathryn
Skirting the Issue: lesbian fashion for the1990s
in Feminist Review 34 (Spring) 1990
A History of men's fashion, 1993
Today there are no gentleman: The change in Englishmen's clothes since the war, 1971
De La Haye, Amy & Dingwall, Cathy
Surfers, soulies, skinheads & skaters, 1996
Fashioning Change; gay men's style - from Mason, A & Healey, E Stonewall, 1994
The man of fashion: peacock males and perfect gentlemen, 1997
'Macaroni Masculinities' in Fashion Theory, Volume 4, Issue 4
p.373 - 404, 2000
'Trousers with flies!: the clothing and style of lesbians'
in Textile History 24.1 p.61-73 1993
'Dyke style or lesbians make an Appearance' from Mason, A & Healey E Stonewall, 1994
LGBT Fashion Designers
There is a 'Fashion Information Folder' to help you to find this material shelved in the Fashion Collection. It includes a list of:
internet web sites
details of the 'Biography' and 'Information Files Index'
guide to the 'Illustrations Collection'.
These are some of the main designers who are gay or lesbian or who have influenced both LGBT and mainstream fashion.
Laurent, Yves Saint
There is a useful set of three videos in 'The Fashion Collection' entitled
'The Story of Fashion' by Eila Hershon & Roberto Guerra with Karl Lagerfeld as artistic advisor which shows the general development and history of fashion. Facilities are provided so that these may be viewed in the library.
Volume 1 'Remembrance of Things Past'
Volume 2 'The Art and Sport of Fashion'
Volume 3 'The Age of Dissent'1996A746.92 ETH
The following magazines are available by asking staff at the enquiry desk:
Arena Homme Plus
Black Beauty and Hair
There are also significant back files of a number of fashion journals in the store. Please ask staff for assistance in using the library catalogue The general newspapers and journals contain information about current LGBT style and fashion.
The Internet has many sites on LGBT style and fashion and the following are a few of the major ones:
The Victoria & Albert Museum has collected both dress and textiles since its earliest days. They have an excellent web site with information relating to famous fashion designers and by using the 'search' box you will find information on LGBT fashion trends etc.
To find out more about fashion designers go to
This collection is made up of miscellaneous illustrations which are cut from magazines and are on fashion related subjects such as hats, accessories, shoes and general fashion of particular periods in history.
There is an important collection of art photography which contains books on fashion photography. It includes histories of the subject and examples of individual photographers work such as Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Norman Parkinson etc
The subject of textiles and its relationship with fashion is also covered with books such as:
'Fashion and Textiles: an overview', 2004
746.92 GAL Fashion Collection
Tattooos and Body Decoration
There is an interesting essay providing an overview of the role of tattoos in LGBT body image by Tina Gianoulis in the glbtq encyclopaedia at www.glbtq.com.
A Tattoo Resource Pack shelved in the Fashion Collection is full of lists of books and information about tattoos and body decoration. It includes a selection of design ideas which can be found in the library.
Art Exhibition Catalogues
There is a huge collection of art exhibition catalogues which includes fashion exhibitions at major venues such as the Victoria & Albert Museum. These may be found by searching the library catalogue www.birmingham.gov.uk/libcat
As the stock in the Library of Birmingham is for use in the library only, it is always available for you to use. You may make notes and photocopy extracts from the material using either black & white or colour photocopiers. Staff are happy to provide any assistance required. The Fashion Collection is introduced on our Fashion and Costume in the Arts Library web page.
Please note We are not responsible for the content of other organisations' websites.