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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



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

Ainley, Rosa
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

Chenoune, Farid
A History of men's fashion, 1993
Q391.1 CHE
Fashion Collection

Cohn, Nik
Today there are no gentleman: The change in Englishmen's clothes since the war, 1971
A391.1 COH

De La Haye, Amy & Dingwall, Cathy
Surfers, soulies, skinheads & skaters, 1996
Q391.00904 DEL
Fashion Collection

Dyer, Richard
Fashioning Change; gay men's style - from Mason, A & Healey, E Stonewall, 1994
Ap391.1 DYE

McDowell, Colin
The man of fashion: peacock males and perfect gentlemen, 1997
Q746.92081 McD
Fashion Collection

McNeil, Peter
'Macaroni Masculinities' in Fashion Theory, Volume 4, Issue 4
p.373 - 404, 2000
ApQ391.1 MacN

Schuyf, Judith
'Trousers with flies!: the clothing and style of lesbians'
in Textile History 24.1 p.61-73 1993

Wilson, Elizabeth
'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:

useful resources
internet web sites
fashion journals
details of the 'Biography' and 'Information Files Index'
newspaper cuttings
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.

Armani, Giorgio
Dior, Christian
Balenciaga, Cristobel
Gaultier, Jean-Paul
Hartnoll, Norman
Klein, Calvin
Laurent, Yves Saint

Rudi, Gernreich
Versace, Gianni


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

Fashion Magazines

The following magazines are available by asking staff at the enquiry desk:

Arena Homme Plus

Black Beauty and Hair
Libas International

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.

Internet Sites

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


Illustrations Collection

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.

Fashion Photography

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:

Gale, Colin
'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

Further Information

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.