To fan-favorite drag queen Eureka O’Hara, gay activism looks like a towering headpiece and a curve-hugging bodysuit.
O’Hara and several other queens took their fashion inspiration from Barefoot’s first Pride-themed packaging, translating the rainbow-colored designs on wine bottles into runway-ready outfits.
The branded content stunt was designed to keep the Pride party going past its usual June period and honor some milestones in LGBTQ history—and, sure, sell some Barefoot booze, which is funneling part of its proceeds from the Pride packages to nonprofit group, Free Mom Hugs.
“I wanted it to be kind of warrior-esque,” O’Hara says of their color-saturated outfit, meant to shout out trailblazers like Marsha P. Johnson and other Stonewall-era pioneers. (O’Hara has broken ground of their own with an Emmy nomination for the HBO series, We Are Here, in which they star with Bob the Drag Queen and Shangela Laquifa Wadley).
YouTube and streaming series Fashion Photo RuView unveiled the fierce “House of Barefoot” looks recently, where hosts Raja and Raven had only praise—or “toots”—for O’Hara and fellow queen Manila Luzon’s Pride-centric garb.
Another round of content went live for National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), with drag queens and their “chosen family” describing their coming-out journeys.
The ongoing marketing alliance between Barefoot and RuPaul’s Drag Race producers World of Wonder represents another step forward for drag. This art form was once considered untouchable by mainstream brands.
In fact, World of Wonder cofounders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey have stepped up their partnerships in the last 18 months, hiring a dedicated executive and making deals with Pepsi, Starbucks, Disney, Bud Light, Netflix and Wet N Wild beauty, among others. The annual DragCon weekends in Los Angeles and New York have become sponsor bonanzas.
A celebration of expression
“It’s taken time but brands are increasingly recognizing that drag—a platform that celebrates self-expression and inspires people to feel confident in themselves—is a great way to really connect with audiences through fun and authentic messaging,” Barbato and Bailey said via email. “In the past one might have said that this audience has their finger on the pulse of the consumer, but increasingly they are the pulse.”
Execs at Barefoot wanted a partnership to “elevate the stories behind each of the limited-edition Pride designs” and “honor the strength and resilience” of the LGBTQ+ community, according to Anna Bell, vice president of marketing.
The partners brainstormed “House of Barefoot” as a stand-in for Pride events that had been canceled around the country this summer due to the Covid-19 public health crisis, she said. Ditto for DragCon.
“We wanted to create a fun, light-hearted piece of content to show that Pride lives within us, always and every day,” Bell said. “Pride can and will be celebrated no matter where we are or how we gather.”