Dylan Joel is an independent London based designer whose designs range from tailored suits to dresses to accessories, inspired by segments of queer and pop culture throughout history.

Fashion has evolved over the last few hundred years, with different styles and silhouettes allowing fashion to travel through segments of popular culture of certain time periods.

As a designer, I find it imperative to research from the past for inspiration, but also looking into the future and being able to work with people to keep fashion evolving. Dylan Joel is about acceptance, garments with a unique edge and always containing an element of androgyny which is when masculine and feminine elements meet.

Drag started as an underground way to express creativity and was deemed inappropriate and was made illegal. It was only viewed as appropriate when used as a performative activity to be enjoyed in nightclubs. Drag has exploded into the mainstream consciousness with TV shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race which started in the US but now has a UK spin off.

Drag performers today have surpassed what it means to be a performer and have taken on the new idea of what a modern celebrity is. Drag performers have been featured on TV and film for the last 50/60 years but not until recent has it become such a frequent occurrence to see drag in almost all types of media including music.

As a designer, I have had the wonderful opportunity to dress many stars from these TV shows such as: Courtney Act, Alaska Thunderfuck, Adore Delano, Laganja Estranja, Baga Chipz and Divina De Campo. When dressing a professional drag queen that has a worldwide audience, they always want something with sparkle and glamour. Drag performers exuberate glamour through their costumes and performance.

With the recent shift in drag entering the mainstream the costumes have become more high fashion and less costume. The use of finer fabrics and exaggerated but elevated silhouettes but still staying true to the origins of drag with crystals and hand embellishments. The use of crystals has always been a key element to create a show stopping garment and this has not changed.

Crystal Parade have given me this opportunity to discuss my experiences with working with drag and my outlook on it. I will also be working with them to create new collections using their marvellous selection of crystals which take an outfit to the next level.

Crystals are a great element to elevate a garment, they have been used for decades for showgirls, musical theatre, pop stars and in TV and film. They have always been in used within fashion but are definitely making a comeback with the drag culture being in the forefront of mainstream media.

Interested in more? Follow on me on Instagram and Facebook, and check out the online store where you can buy products worn by these drag performers, with pieces collaborated on with Crystal Parade.

Dylan Joel


Performance costume

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