Student Work

  • Fashion Studies (MA)

    Victoria Grass

    Fashioning Queen Bey: The Evolutionary Appearance of Black Feminism

    This thesis explores the formation of Beyoncé’s feminism through the three persona shifts of her professional career. The Pre-Sasha Fierce, Post-Sasha-Fierce, and Lemonade eras are all fashioned in ways that progress her narrative and contribute to the cultivation of a reimagined Black femme identity. During the early eras of her career, Beyoncé presented an incoherent brand image that was reflective of her need to uphold respectable standards of palatable blackness. As she continued to grow and mature as an artist, her dress practices became a strategic method for asserting her independence and unapologetic sexuality, and for flaunting her wealth. In the current Lemonade era of her career, Beyoncé mobilizes fashion as a tool for uplifting Black people and celebrating Black bodies. This thesis is an exploration of how Beyoncé has used fashion in her career to further her message of female empowerment. From homemade creations by her mother to striking designer gowns and structured bodysuits, the styling of Beyoncé’s image provides cultural commentary that complicates essentialist definitions of Black womanhood and highlights the necessity of intersectional feminist ideology, free of rigid boundaries.