A drag queen insists used fashion can still be fabulous – like the £40 pink boots she wears for her shows. Cherry Allen, 19, loves to buy pre-loved clothes and hopes others will follow her lead by swapping high street for second-hand.
The transgender woman from Nottingham said buying vintage and secondhand is a great way to save money, particularly during the cost of living crisis. But it doesn’t have to mean compromising on style.
Many pieces are bought for her drag queen performances which she has been doing since she was 16. Cherry shares her outfits on her Instagram page and said followers are often surprised by the bargains they can snap up.
“Shopping for pre-loved clothes doesn’t mean you can’t find some great pieces – there are really unique items out there to discover,” she said. “As they say, ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’.
“I always look to buy second-hand or search through charity shops to get vintage fashion that I can make into my own. It’s important to be authentic to you and your story.”
Cherry, due to begin studying Fashion Branding and Promotion at Nottingham Trent University in September, first became aware of drag aged 13. “I was scrolling through Netflix one day and found RuPaul’s Drag Race,” she said.
“I didn’t know what it was and I’d never heard of drag but the show looked so pretty with such bright colours so I decided to start watching it and immediately fell in love with drag. I practised a lot in my bedroom with my makeup and listening to music to practise dance routines.
“At 16, I performed in my first drag show in a day bar with an audience of about 20 people and I was so nervous. My mum and my gran came to support me during my 15-minute performance and it was really nice to know they were in the audience.
“I wore a pink Barbie bodysuit, which I bought second-hand, while lip-syncing Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande on stage. It was crazy and so much fun.”
Cherry’s outfit for that first show was put together on a tight budget. At the time she made only £20 a week from a paper round so there was little spare cash to pay for an outfit.
“I had two outfits for the night – and each of them cost under £20. One was the Barbie bodysuit with boots and the other was a red slip dress, which were both from Gumtree,” she explained.
“I had to be thrifty with my money as I really didn’t have much, so shopping second-hand became a way for me to get more value for my money.”
Now there’s no stopping Cherry. So far this year, she has done four performances, with more lined up.
The outfits she has shared on Instagram include her own creations including a wedding dress made from pre-loved fake floral bouquets and mosquito nets. And she loves vintage looks too.
“I’m also very into trends and right now Y2K is back in fashion – the slogan T-Shirts and low-rise jeans and juicy couture tracksuits. There are a lot of replicas that you find online but if you want to find genuine clothes, vintage and second-hand shops are the best places to look.”
Her favourite bargain is her pink PVC thigh-high boots which I bought from Gumtree. “They were one of my first purchases and I can’t remember how much they cost, but they were definitely under £40,” she said.
She added: “I’ve had them so long that I’ve had to get them re-heeled a couple of times because I just can’t part with them. I also got a pair of pink platform heels from Gumtree for £15 which I love too.”
Article Source: Kent Live