Style Tribe: Drag Queen Clothing Swap (NSFW)

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In the back garden of Metropolitan bar on a recent Thursday, buff dudes in work boots rummaged through heaps of polyester sweaters alongside even buffer dudes in five-inch heels. Up front at the bar, the “Alotta Stuff” vintage auction and clothing swap in Williamsburg was underway and the thrifted treasures for trade were piled as thick as the hosts's makeup. Two boyish models, Lady Havokk and Krystal Something Something, posed in Pepto-Bismol eighties prom dresses, gladiator fringe skirts, and children's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes.

"We're all crazy hoarders," explained Alotta McGriddes, one of the event’s auctioneers and hosts along with friend and fellow drag artist Thorgy Thor. McGriddles and Thor first started the event to help clear out their overflowing closets. On Thursday, bids for the 40-some auction items started between $1 and $5, occasionally reaching as high as $40. The piles of clothes in the back, which anyone could dump cast-offs onto, were free to take.

McGriddles, a freelance social media consultant by day, has gone thrifting two to three times a week at “secret, out of state” locations ever since she started doing drag about a year ago. "Just by virtue of being a drag queen, your wardrobe doubles," she said. "My whole apartment has turned into a closet. We have racks and racks of clothes."

In keeping with the auction’s name, the clothing was much more New Jersey yard sale than West Village vintage boutique. McGriddles wore a busting-at-the-seams sixties shift dress ("If I move it's going to rip!") while Thorgy Thor sported a billowy tie-dye jumpsuit and dreadlocks that resembled a Louise Bourgeois sculpture. The Brooklyn drag scene, fans say, is much more "punk" than its counterparts in other boroughs, as different from Manhattan as acid-wash from satin. If drag shows in Manhattan are about being polished, pretty, and sophisticated, Brooklyn is "a screaming sloppy mess," said Thor. "We can get blood on an outfit and we don't give a fuck," said McGriddles. Click through the slideshow to meet some of the clothing swappers.

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