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Interior Design and Fashion collaborate with JennAir and Tridel on ‘Drag Is Art’ event. Fashion show, panel and costume display event promotes creative expression.

The School of Interior Design and School of Fashion, in partnership with JennAir and Tridel, hosted ‘Drag is Art’ to celebrate self-expression and identity. Presented by Drag Academy, the event included a costume showcase, panel discussion, and performances from esteemed drag artists.

The showcase offered a unique opportunity for students to explore diversity in various spaces, outside of a traditional lecture hall. “Drag is an interdisciplinary medium that combines several aspects of interior design,” said Natalie Ramtahal, Manager of Administration and Equity of Interior Design. “The use of space and design can change how audiences experience a performance.”

Drag Academy is a revolutionary social purpose business that stands at the forefront of drag education, where education meets empowerment, and the art of drag becomes a catalyst for positive change. In the past, Drag Academy has worked with institutions, including the Royal Ontario Museum and Museum of Contemporary Arts, as well as several municipalities and educational institutions on customized learning events and diversity, equity, and inclusion training.

Drag Academy CEO Daven Seebarran stressed the value of this collaboration, highlighting drag as an art form that draws inspiration from fashion and interior design and, in turn, inspires both. Working with esteemed drag artists and partnerships at The Creative School fosters community in academia. 

“We are so thrilled to be working with some of the best in the industry,” said Seebarran. “Kiki Coe was featured in Canada's Drag Race, Seyonce Knows and Ms. Shay Dee were on Call Me Mother, Kenadie St. James from Sew Fierce Canada, and Manny Dingo is one of the best drag kings in Canada.” 

Seebarran expressed the influence of drag on mainstream media across multiple disciplines.“Drag parallels the boldness and creativity found on high-fashion runways,” explained Seebarran. “It has influenced mainstream fashion. Fashion designers draw inspiration from drag artists, from their makeup to costumes. Drag artists now walk the runways in Paris and New York.

Like fashion and design, drag allows individuals to showcase their personalities through clothing, make-up, and accessories to embody different personas. Drag performers reinterpret and remix fashion trends and interior design, infusing them with theatrical flair and personality.

“Central to drag and fashion is the notion of performance and presentation,” Seebarran added. “Drag performances are spectacles, captivating audiences with their costumes and makeup. Fashion plays an important role in shaping these performances.”

He explained that drag and fashion have served as tools for advocacy and have been used to challenge conventional norms of gender and identity throughout history. Drag performers often blur the lines between masculine and feminine aesthetics, using fashion for gender play and exploration.

For second-year Interior Design student Jessy Vu, drag has much more in common with interior design than one may think. “If you think about clothing and makeup being a presentation of the body as a structure, it’s very similar to choosing to present an interior space a certain way,” said Vu. “Design is used to change how the structure is seen to those around them.” Fellow student Charlene Pham agreed, adding that both interior design and drag are transformative art forms.

“Both mediums are tools for self expression, used to interpret what a space means and performs,” Pham explained. 

Check out @princemannydingo, @seyonceknows, @msshaydee, @coekiki, @kenadiestj, and @dragacdemycanada on Instagram.

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