Drag Queen Research - Geographic Insights

Goals

To understand the drag queen wig market in order to inform a decsion about creating a product line geared towards drag queens. The current objective is to identify the popular wig styles for costuming and drag.

Early Findings

Unconventional Means

  • Please note that similar to drag queen culture, research about drag queen concepts and features takes a few unconventional means. This is because the mainstream arms of the economy have been slow to catch on to how and what people interested in drag are willing to spend (in terms of time and money). For that reason, some of the concepts and suggestions for this initial research were originally gleaned from Reddit’s Drag forum where a Drag 101 was done on wigs, specifically. Note that Wonder does not typically reference Reddit since these sources are not always reliable (but in this case, they proved helpful)

Drag Wig Styling

  • One of the Reddit reviewer’s comments shed light on the complexities in determining popular styling and this had to do with understanding end goals. The commenter [oneboytoldme] noted that the best wigs were based on the desired function (e.g., the ability to take on heat, where the lace is located, cleaning issues, length for teasing issues, etc.).
  • Some insights can be gleaned from how top drag queens care for their wigs. One article highlights that synthetic vs human hair required additional time, which can impact cost as well as popularity.

Costs

  • Drag costuming (including costume, wigs, makeup, nails, fragrance, and treatment) cost Jan Sport $6,256/year. Sasha Velour, one of the winner’s on Drag Race, spent ~$4,000 for her looks on the show (note hat this winner for wigs less often than the other contestants).

Popular Drag Wig Makers

  • In drag culture, the top queens are specifically set up to stand out from the pack, so as soon as something becomes popular it is likely passé. This may be why so many popular wig makers appear to be more boutique-style operations. Below is a mix of ‘boutique’ wig makers and more mainstream wholesalers.
-Necia’s Hairstyling
-MX angel sells at Amazon and Sears but an exact website, store, or maker has yet to be identified.
-Wigs and Grace [https://www.wigsandgrace.com]
-Haired By Harris was recently highlighted as a wig-maker for top drag queens.

RuPaul's Drag Race Styles

  • According to Vulture, the top RuPaul’s US Drag Race queens include Bianca Del Rio, Shangela Laquifa Wadley, and Courtney Act (to name a few; this list goes to the top 20 and runners up).

Wig Exhibitors at DragCon

  • Some top exhibitors that were highlighted by World of Wonder (Drag Race’s production company) include KritterKlips, Wigs By Vanity, Wigs And Grace, Diva Dreads, & Rockstar Wigs!.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
Because drag queen wig popularity is not something that has already been compiled, the team suggests building a competitive analysis based on the top wig looks by top drag queens in the US, and providing an analysis of the colors and styles of their wigs. The research team can continue this research by reviewing the top 12 RuPaul’s Drag Race drag queens in the US (from Vulture article above). Taking the top queens, we review their top 5 looks in 2019 (based on most likes on their social media accounts) or published news content. We will provide screenshots, and color/coif analysis of the wigs (e.g., what color popular wigs were, what styling the wigs featured) as well as any details (like synthetic vs. human hair, cost, heating abilities, cleaning issues) that might have been tangentially highlighted about the wigs (as available).
The team is also able to assess drag queen wig popularity by reviewing the top vendors at DragCon (listed in this initial research as KritterKlips, Wigs By Vanity, Wigs And Grace, Diva Dreads, & Rockstar Wigs!) as well as Necia’s Hairstyling, MX angel, and BobbiePinz. The team can review the wig looks of these makers and conduct a competitive analysis that lists the colors offered, prices, and styles.
The team is also able to contribute to determining popular costuming wig styles by developing a prospecting list of where drag queens buy their wigs “on the cheap” (e.g., Party City) and provide a brief description of wig styles and price availability at the makers for costuming. The team will attempt to locate 7-10 providers.