Abstract: In altering and regenerating, I strip clothes from gendered confines. This reuse explores the value of originality and reinterpretation. This action is also one of empowerment in its disregard for the typical sanctity of consumer products. Furthermore, renewing old clothing references the psychological, political, and environmental consequences of excessive accumulation and consumption.

The parallel practices of art and fashion in my work inform each other in both their material and the contemplation of fashion's function. My fascination with the meaning behind personal style derives from how what we wear signifies, particularly within the queer communities of which I am a part. Style can subvert social constraints such as gender norms and socioeconomic stratification. Style can veil a troubled mentality or festively externalize one's interior--a celebration that, outside of safe spaces, is subject to attack. Style can present a problematic dichotomy between necessary self-expression and superficial judgement within a classist culture.

This thesis is for anyone who wears clothes and wants to contemplate the significance of clothing as more than just a social and climatological necessity.

Read MI Leggett's complete Oberlin College High Honors Thesis.