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High Tech Drag-cessories: Color Changing Wig and Light Controlling Nails

Inventor Jordan Frand sourced input from drag and burlesque performers.

by Diana Shi
May 13 2017, 11:40am

Images courtesy the artist

The artistry involved in drag is staggering. To reach the holy grail of drag—RuPaul's Drag Race—for example, queens have to be masterful makeup artists, fashion designers, actors, comedians, singers, dancers, models, and so much more. There's no shortage of ingenuity and innovation—many drag queens turn out extremely intricate designs, capable of transforming, and thus slaying, on the runway.

For his master's thesis at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), Jordan Frand invented two high-tech drag-cessories designed to enhance queens' slaying power. One is a thermochromic wig, which changes from day-glo pink to a powdery pastel by way of a heating carbon fiber. The other is a set of conductive acrylic nails, capable of controlling stage lighting with the tap of a finger.

The project—entitled K.W.E.E.N. or "Kallomaniacal Wearable Expression Enhancement Network"—is intended to "enhance a performer's expression of gorgeousness," Frand tells Creators. "The impetus for this project came from my realizing that many of us gay men idolized powerful women while we were growing up. Frequently, 'super powerful' women. When I polled a group of my friends about the strong women they looked up to as young, gay boys, no one said their mom. Their answers included Xena, Storm and the other ladies of X-Men, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So I thought: what kind of superpowers would a drag queen want to help her be even more sickening on stage?"

Frand conceived and designed the K.W.E.E.N. line by sourcing input and feedback from drag and burlesque performers. The pieces leverage cutting-edge technology and maximum theatricality to address "these performers' desire to be able to control lighting and even effectively do costume changes on stage. It makes the [drag] queen her own one-woman show!"

Watch the entire video showcasing K.W.E.E.N. below:

Watch Frand present his full thesis, along with executing a short demo of K.W.E.E.N., below:


To see more work from Jordan Frand, visit his website and his Vimeo page.

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