Student Work

  • Fashion Studies (MA)

    Dani Witkus

    Queering the Exchange: Transgender Clothing Swaps and Identity Formation

    According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey report conducted by The National Center for Transgender Equality, 29% of transgender individuals who participated in the study were living in poverty, which is twice the amount compared to the national average of 12%. With this statistic in mind, one can understand that access to clothing that not only affirms one’s gender but also appeals to one’s personal taste can be challenging to obtain when a person is faced with economic and social disenfranchisement. Transgender clothing swaps and exchanges are events where members of the queer community, as well as allies, come together around clothing that would otherwise be discarded or entered into the larger second-hand clothing system. This research paper explores the topic of transgender clothing exchanges through a case study event, called the Trans Pop-Up. It seeks to understand this event, and the materials that are exchanged there. Through interviews and wardrobe studies, this thesis also tries to understand how individuals use swaps and exchanges to create their personal wardrobes.