Chapter (2)

What are the origins of the contemporary Eurocentric society’s attitude towards female public nudity? State of undress and its implications in modern, capitalist society.


A notable amount of effort and time has been put into analysing fashion in the societal, anthropological or economic context in the last century. Even more attention has been given to the human body. Yet paradoxically, to merge those rather inseparable topics into one seems to be of a less common occurrence. Joanne Entwistle observes in her essay “Fashion and the Fleshy Body” that “[...], dress cannot be understood without reference to the body and [...] the body has always and everywhere to be dressed [...]” (Entwistle, 2019). One doesn’t exist in society without the other - we are expected to appear dressed in nearly every situation. “The few mere scraps of fabric that make up a bikini are enough to ensure that the female body is ‘decent’ on beaches in the West” (Entwistle, 2019). This statement has awakened a curiosity in me: what arguments stand behind our social and moral obligation to cover ourselves? How did our sense of modesty come to be and is it still relevant? It is widely acknowledged that nude bodies, especially female, are associated with a taboo theme of human sexuality and its desires. Yet in my opinion the human body is not innately sexual. The state of undress is not an indication of sexual act. Why therefore, Eurocentric society’s sentiments are different and public nudity is deemed as not only indecent, but corruptible, even punishable in certain cases? And lastly - how come, in Western nations, a few “scraps of fabric” are more socially acceptable than nude bodies in such circumstance as public bathing and relaxation at a beach?

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Jul 23’
Trend Forecast Researcher

Apr 23’ - Jun 23’
Brand Strategist

Aug 21’ - Apr 22’
The Riza
Editorial Intern

Jan 20’
The Fabricant x Karlie Kloss x Adidas
Art Director

Dec 23’
Central Saint Martins
MA FC: Fashion Critical Studies 

Jul 20’
London Collage of Fashion
BA (Hons) FDT: Womenswear 


Dominika Szmidt is a versatile, technically proficient and multi-skilled researcher and strategist with art direction and design experience. Born in Poland, based in London for many years. Central Saint Martins MA Fashion Communication. London College of Fashion BA Fashion Design Technology.

Among her areas of focus are semiotics of a fashion object in relation to overconsumption, within the context of contemporary, western civilization, as well as the future of the craft in a technologically advancing fashion industry.