Fashion undergoes constant changes. Social movements reflect on the way people dress, act, and even the way the industry works. And, of course, drag queens are important players when it comes to fashion, empowerment, self-confidence, and glamour.
At the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance Period, around 1350 AD, there was a change in the thinking of society. The human being began to question the world he knew and think for himself. And this was even highlighted further by technological development.
So, fashion as we know it arises with the notion of “I”, of the individual being. Clothes and aesthetics began to express what a person was thinking and going through. In other words, garments have become a matter of pride and ostentation. And the same concept applies to Drag Queen fashion.
On this Pride Month, FASHINNOVATION will bring monthly important issues and discussions related to the LGBTQ+ community. And, this week, as you may have guessed, we are all about the empowering the vibe of the drag queens. Keep reading to learn more about this art!
What Does it Mean to Be a Drag Queen?
A drag queen is an artist who uses clothing and elements such as wigs and makeup, often of the opposite gender, for entertainment purposes. It has nothing to do with gender identity or sexual orientation. In other words, anyone, whether homo, straight or bisexual, cis or transgender, can be a drag queen (or drag king, as women with male characters are called).
The word comes from Polari, a 19th-century English dialect, which was later used by the LGBT community. Some say that “drag” is an acronym for “dressed as a girl”, supposedly present in old theater scripts, to guide the director of the play.
How Drag Queen Fashion Began
Actors at that time saw this fashion as a form of expression. The possibility of wearing extravagant clothing has become a dramaturgical issue for use on stage. This idea persists to this day, as it is on stages that drag queen fashion is highlighted, along with the artist’s performance.
It was only in 1920 that drag art began to be more aligned with the LGBTQ+ community.
From then onwards, huge parties began to take place at which most men were dressed as women. These parties were called “drag balls”, a dance of drag culture. This period became known as the “pansy craze”, where there was an increase in the popularity of drag culture.
While these balls put more emphasis on the glamour and drag lifestyle, the audience still valued the comedy performances in theaters much more, so it was a time to reinvent yourself, trying to find a balance between both.
In 1930, being a drag became an expensive career, even. It was considered a great investment for a man to maintain the position expected of a woman at that time. Even today, clothes, wigs, and makeup are not expensive.
At the time, drag queens began to be arrested because cross-dressing was considered to be an offense to society. The artists began to disappear and those who stayed had to hide. It had become a huge taboo.
Drag Queen Fashion Nowadays
While society was discovering itself, important social flags began to be raised. And, along with that, drag queen fashion also evolved. Currently, the practice of dressing exaggeratedly, whether in a feminine or masculine way, is already extremely interesting, considered to be a kind of art and a profession.
Being a drag queen or drag king, which is when women overdress like what’s expected of a man, has become a mainstream issue. The subject has been increasingly discussed. However, these artists do not always receive the respect and recognition they deserve.
A program that has greatly helped this art to spread around the world is RuPaul’s Drag Race, a program where around 13 competitors compete for the biggest prize of the Drag Queen Superstar. The show is currently in its 13th season.
Another familiar face is that of Pabllo Vittar, a Brazilian drag queen and famous all over the world for her music and personality. Music is totally linked to culture and the expression of being, so Vittar was soon embraced by the entire LGBTQ+ community.
Once again, we emphasize the importance of discussing subjects that, for a long time, were considered taboo. It is only with education that barriers are broken.
The LGBTQ+ community is vast, plural, colorful, and, even more, proud of who they are. They deserve respect and recognition. As we’ve seen, drag queens don’t necessarily belong to the community. However, many times, due to prejudice and discrimination, people marginalize these artists and their art. But, thankfully this is changing.
Check out our article in which we explain how fashion reflects social changes.