Oh Em Gee: How Gee Jocson Expands Fashion Horizons with Drag Artists

Oh Em Gee: How Gee Jocson Expands Fashion Horizons with Drag Artists


Filipina fashion stylist, Gee Jocson, gives an insight into working with drag artists and offers tips for those aspiring to enter the industry

The core of any idea starts with a story. Storytelling is central to expressing a message or a mood. A writer assembles words to form a thought. Fashion stylists, on the other hand, use clothes and accessories. Stylists pen their fashion poetry by harmoniously layering garments and statement pieces, transforming the wearer. With each set of clothes they curate, the color and silhouette have meanings and reasons for the story to reveal itself.

Related: MEGA Drag Exclusive: Marina Summers turns her dreams into International Superstardom

Photo: GEE JOCSON (via Instagram) | Photography by SUPER SONIC SIOMAI

Gee Jocson has a background in theatre and mentions that it’s crucial for her to feel the character she’s envisioning. “Like trying to put myself in their shoes,” she says. “Some call it method acting.”

She observes and absorbs details that will help her generate a new lens from which a new perception would appear. “I incorporate what I studied about them with my fashion preference that relates to the narrative of the shoot.”

Photo: GEE JOCSON (via Instagram) | Naia wearing DOTTIE CHAN, Earring by SPRINKLES, Snake necklace by LOUIE GALLEGO, and Seraphine necklace by VENUS CRIED | Photography by SUPER SONIC SIOMAI. Hair by WIGS by SCARLETTE. Styling by GEE JOCSON, assisted by ANGELO VASALLO and JASON MAGO

“Styling for drag is very specific,” Gee Jocson explains. “It has to fit their drag persona, and it’s very precise—no minute detail should be ignored.” She adds that these artists want to stay true to their persona but are always more than open to experimenting with looks they’ve never done before. Makeup, hair, nails, and accessories for drag tend to be more fantastical and exaggerated. “I incorporate a editorial detail with their clothing that is not overbearing,” she says about clients who want to do something different.

The Styling Process

Gee Jocson prepares a full-blown deck for her clients. “I need to show them my thought process and how I want to execute it: A mood board for the look, clothing details, designer sketch, then a slide for hair and makeup references,” shares the stylist.

Photo: GEE JOCSON (via Instagram) | Maxie Anderson wearing a look by GWEN RUIN | Photography by JOSEPH BERMUDEZ. Nails by PAINT N STYLE. Styling by GEE JOCSON, assisted by ANGELO VASALLO and JASON MAGO

She draws inspiration from theatre, movies, history, and European fashion. “There will always be one classic detail present in my output, then add trendy elements in the mix that no one has explored yet,” Gee says about creating a balance between fashion trends and timeless looks. She adds: “I think I just exposed the Gee Jocson Studio styling DNA.”

Working with Manila Luzon

“One of the proudest things I did with drag artists was when I styled The Golden Gays for MEGA Drag and the Manila Luzon cover for MEGA Entertainment.” Gee Jocson incorporates both Filipino and Western references to come up with clothes that they collaborate with designers for Drag Den Season 2.

Photo: GEE JOCSON (via Instagram) | Manila Luzon wearing MARA CHUA | Photography by SUPER SONIC SIOMAI. Nails by EXTRAORDINAIL. Makeup by IOWANI. Hair by JONNA QUINN. Styling by GEE JOCSON, assisted by ANGELO VASALLO and JASON MAGO

Jocson presents 3 mood boards for 1 look, and they move forward with whichever resonates the most. “Manila likes having options and loves being involved. That’s what I like about her. She speaks her mind and her concerns, and it makes my job easier.”

Gee makes it a point that the designer will still get the job either way by asking only one designer to sketch 3 different looks. She then pitches the sketches to Manila. They choose 1 sketch and, if necessary, make directions and suggestions to fit the vision better. The next step is fitting. Gee takes a photo of Manila, and they decide what hair and makeup style they’ll execute to complete the look. 

Essential advice from an experienced stylist

Gee Jocson’s experience in the fashion world helped her define her styling philosophy. Below is a list of sound advice on navigating the industry. 

Photo: GEE JOCSON (via Instagram) | Turing wearing a look by YANA K and JOHN PATRICK, and Earrings by FARAH ABU | Photography by JOSEPH BERMUDEZ. Nails by PAINT N STYLE. Styling by GEE JOCSON, assisted by ANGELO VASALLO

Do your research: “There are some looks that the queens already did.”

Be bold. Experiment: “Drag artists are fun to collaborate with. They love exploring new concepts. Collaborating with Turing is something that I got really excited about. She’s very body-positive and something I resonate with. She promotes confidence, and that is something I support, too! She loves to experiment and explore different looks, and when we shot her, her stance and execution in making her looks work, it was still her with a little extra sauce.”

Be organized: “Drag artists love their visual references. When pitching a look or concept, ensure that your mood board has a clear message.”

Be open to collaborating: “You would also want to know their thoughts and whether they’re comfortable with the looks. M1ss Jade So is bold, sexy, and out of this world. Sometimes, I was reluctant to suggest it, but she was super game and okay with it. She doesn’t want to be covered up that much. That was a bit of a challenge, but my shoot with her turned out beautiful and new.”

Pay your designers: “This is something that I have really practiced ever since. If you don’t have enough budget, communicate with them, and they will be happy to compromise. Paying them is also a way of showing respect to their artistry and years of practice in the industry.”

Have fun: “Drag is a form of self-expression. Live in the moment that you’re styling drag artists! I didn’t think I would become a stylist for drag artists, but it turns out I am meant to do this.”

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