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Fashion II students learn about the impact of drag

Drag Designer Lyn Kream teaches students about expressing themselves through fashion
Students in Fashion II are learning from drag designer, Lyn Kream, about the importance and history of drag fashion. Kream has designed outfits for some of the most famous drag queens today, including Trixie Mattel. “My favorite memory has to be just being a part of helping people make their dreams come true, live their lives fully in the open, and share their art with others,” Kream said. “Whether it’s helping a queen get to Drag Race, costuming for a Pride event or helping a baby queen develop their character, drag has been such a wonderful part of my career. It’s truly life changing and affirming.” Photo Credit: Lyn Kream

Fashion has always been used as a form of self expression. But when combined with over the top make up, glamorous outfits and wigs in every color, it becomes something far more extravagant for the fashion community.

In Levi Harbeson’s Fashion II course, sophomores are learning about this most expressive forms of fashion: drag.

“Drag is about putting who you are on the inside, on your outside, and being comfortable in your own skin,” fashion teacher Levi Harbeson said. “This is a really, really important part of fashion history and queer history, but more importantly, it is all about self-expression and loving who you are.”

Harbeson invited guest speaker and drag fashion designer Lyn Kream to speak to the students about the impact this art form has had on the fashion industry and its relevance today.

“Drag and fashion has always co-existed and each has drawn inspiration from the other. I feel that the fashion industry has been most influenced in who they choose to present it,” Kream said.“There has been a shift in the modeling industry, and fashion houses have become more open to using trans and gender non-conforming models. I really believe that the advent of drag becoming mainstream and seeing queens of all genders fiercely strutting runways has helped usher in that change.”

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In addition, Kream hopes students enjoyed seeing this new side of the fashion world and it has impacted their perception on the way they see different forms of fashion.

“Drag has affected me in so many ways. It has helped me find myself within myself. It’s a whole other form of self expression for me and most people,” sophomore Karim Abd-Elmalek said. “Because of this, I really do want to continue drag in the future. It seems so glamorous and you can be extremely successful. Even if I don’t, I would love to just work with a drag queen, creating their costumes and being a wig designer.”

In order to show what they have learned, students will be designing their own drag queen outfit inspired by school supplies. For example, illustrating a dress made entirely out of pencils, or manipulating fabric to look like a piece of notebook paper.

“I’m planning to take physical parts of certain school supplies and use them for parts of my outfit,” sophomore Paulina C. said. “I would like the whole look to be inspired by the shapes and colors of the school supplies. Hopefully I can get it to be as campy and flamboyant as possible, yet still very comfortable for a drag queen to wear.”

Harbeson hopes students learn the importance of self-expression through fashion.

“I want students to walk away with the understanding that we all deserve to be loved and accepted for who we are,” Kream said. “So much of drag history is overcoming adversity, surviving and thriving, regardless of what society deems ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’.”

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    Nicole SuttonFeb 23, 2021 at

    I live in Milwaukee so I’ve seen Lyn’s work and attended her runways shows. Her work is phenomenal and it only makes the person wearing it shine. Drag is art and every artist who contributes is a star. Thanks for highlighting such a fantastic person.