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Negative Aesthetics, Grotesque Bodies and Disgusting Fashion in the 21st century

Time: Fri 2022-09-09 13.00

Location: Online

Participating: Danae Ioannou, PhD Candidate - Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) Department of Fine Arts

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Considering fashion as a form of art built around the soma, this seminar explores the relationship between the aesthetics of the body related to negative emotions, such as pain and disgust, and their role in the 21st century Avant Garde fashion. In order to understand the place of the aesthetic soma in the realm of the non-beautiful and the way that “fashion reveals the body it conceals precisely by concealing it” according to Shusterman, the engagement of Everyday Aesthetics is needed. The core idea is Shusterman’s statement that the Somaesthetics of everyday discomfort and pain should not be characterized as a wholly negative or a wholly positive aesthetics but as a melioristic aesthetics. In this context, we will examine disgust-related fashion and Negative Aesthetics (as part of Everyday Aesthetics), which engage in dialogue with the ugly, the disgusting and the grotesque soma. In everyday life, the repulsive body/dress challenges the ideals of what is considered as aesthetically pleasing, since the brutal and the divine are merged through aesthetic violence. Furthermore, we are going to explore the place of the amputated body in contemporary fashion. Deformity, disfiguration and mutilation are considered as sources of disgust, functioning as a reminder of our own mortality and decay. Nonetheless, the fear of “a body that lacks” and the repulsion it provokes, is part of the aesthetic experience of disability. Fashionable prostheses (prosthetic body parts), plays a major role in the inclusion and the definition of the amputated soma as a fashioned body. The aim is to understand how the dressed (or undressed) violated body becomes an aesthetic object and a fashionable subject. Pain, sensuality and disgust blur the boundaries between clothing and body and can be used to understand the connections between Somaesthetics, Negative aesthetics and Fashion.


Danae Ioannou is a PhD Candidate in Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), Department of Fine and Applied Arts and her research is focused on Philosophy and Aesthetics. Her research interests are: Negative Aesthetics, Philosophy of Fashion, Fashion as an Art and Somaesthetics. She received her Bachelor Degree in Theory and History of Art from Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) in 2018, presenting her thesis on the evolution of Japanese kimono and its impact on the western culture and fashion. In 2020, she acquired her Master Degree in Fashion Studies from Stockholm University, presenting her master thesis “To be feared or to be wanted: Projections of Fear and Desire in the work of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano”. She currently explores the aesthetic appreciation of disgusting fashion in the context of Everyday Aesthetics and Somaesthetics.