Call For Proposals: Fashion and Horror

This is a call for proposals for chapters to comprise a potential new publication, which has had strong interest from Bloomsbury. Editors of this volume are Dr. Julia Petrov, Alberta College of Art and Design, Canada and Dr. Gudrun D. Whitehead, University of Iceland.


Recently, academic attention has turned to exploring the links between popular culture and dress. Thematic approaches to subcultural dress have included Gothic: Dark Glamour (Steele and Park 2008) and Punk: Chaos to Couture (Bolton et al 2013). The role of media in fashion dissemination and reception has been discussed in Fashion in Film (Munich 2011) and Fashion in Popular Culture (Hancock et al 2013). Furthermore, scholars have recently noted fashion’s obsession with subversion (Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty; Bolton et al 2011), as well as the dark side of fashion production and consumption (Fashion Victims; Matthews David 2015).

At the same time, horror has gained a wider audience than ever before, moving from sub-culture into mainstream culture. No longer content with lurking in the shadows, vampires, zombies, ghouls, murderers, and mythical creatures can now be found on the big screen and in bestselling books, mesmerizing audiences in old roles and new. Previously securely identified through mannerisms and dress, monsters and villains are now fully integrated into society, attending high school, going to work and dressing according to the latest fashion, rather than the clothes they perished in. This is evident from teen horror going mainstream such as the Twilight book and film series, but also from multiple current TV shows, such as Z nation, iZombie, the Walking Dead, and more. Cult TV program The X-files is returning to the small screen and Bruce Campbell will sport his Evil Dead chainsaw once again, this time as a major television program, rather than in a film. These are only a few examples from many, demonstrating the recent surge in the horror genre, both as mainstream and independent productions. The proposed volume seeks to explore these recent trends in horror through one of their basic components, costume design.

To date, apart from a few articles and book chapters (e.g.: Tseelon 1998, Nakahara 2009), there has been no thorough investigation of fashion and horror. This edited volume, therefore, proposes to explore the links between the horror genre and dress in all its forms, from costume to fashionable clothing. Disciplinary approaches may include fashion studies, media studies, film, literature, folklore, costume design, sociology, popular culture studies, gender studies, material culture studies and others. The editors seek contributions from scholars at a wide variety of institutions from around the globe on topics such as:

1) Fashion in horror: Dress is an important element for developing narrative and characterization in both literary and filmic horror. Within this theme, chapters could explore:

  • Costumes as expression of plot
  • Costumes and character archetypes
  • Costumes and villains: instant recognition of horror film-series villains from costume designs
  • Costumes identifying sub-genres
  • Costume style and production companies (such as Hammer Horror)
  • How can costumes act as an emotional stimulus for audiences?
  • Gender and horror: costume differences between male and female characters in horror
  • Collecting horror film costume
  • Horror cosplay
  • From burial-dress to prom-dress: History of horror through costume design.

2) Horror in fashion: As fashion exists in a world of popular culture references, this theme seeks to explore the mutually-referential relationship between high-street/high-fashion designs and horror. Chapters might address:

  • Designer clothing that references horror films or literature
  • The influence of horror films on fashion
  • How is horror communicated in fashion?
  • How fashion has expanded horror? Has it given the horror movie genre a new set of references or a new audience?

What the proposal should include:

  • 300-400 word chapter summary of no more than 8,000 words (including notes and references), including a chapter title and keywords, information on central argument/research question, a summary of main points, theoretical approach, and relevant sources.
  • Contact information, institutional affiliation, and biographies for authors and co-authors (please note corresponding author for collaborative chapters).


Please submit proposals to Dr. Petrov and Dr. Whitehead at, no later than 31 October 2015.

Authors will be informed about acceptance or rejection of their proposals no later than 30 November 2015. The entire book proposal will then be sent to Bloomsbury for a thorough review by international scholars. Contributing authors will receive a contract once the proposal has been successfully peer reviewed and accepted at the publisher’s board meeting. Authors will then be sent article guidelines, and full chapters should be submitted for review and subsequent revision. The entire book manuscript will then be submitted to Bloomsbury where it will go through the publisher’s own manuscript peer review. It is anticipated that the volume will be published in late 2016, or early 2017.

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