The Drag on a Dime challenges, also known as the design challenges, are a beloved hallmark of RuPaul’s Drag Race. These challenges have proved to be great opportunities for queens to show their creativity and ingenuity.
Always fun to see the thought process behind the created garments, the design challenge episodes provide a unique window into a contestant’s aesthetic. Some have floundered at this opportunity while others have flourished. As a result, the successful garments are even more outstanding when compared to their less appealing competitors’ products.
10 Nina Flowers – “Drag On A Dime” (Season 1)
The first “drag on a dime challenge,” this first round of queens needed to make outfits from the items of a dollar store. Nina Flowers would win this challenge and it is easy to see why, or rather, hard to tell that the garment was constructed out of 99 cent store items. Flowers helped to transform the materials to look like a fully thought-out garment. Even with the unfortunate season 1 filter, Flower’s impressive skills are on full display.
9 Morgan McMichaels – “Gone With The Windows” (Season 2)
In this season 2 episode, the challenge was to construct a garment out of curtains. Many of the queens showed impressive creativity in their silhouettes, like Jujubee’s and Pandora Boxx’s looks. But, Morgan McMichaels uplifted their materials to create a fashion look that appeared more like a true garment than a curtain wrapped around their body.
With their two-piece set, Morgan kept the curtain rings intact but placed them in flattering spots. This smart positioning of the curtain gained Morgan the first win of the season.
8 Brooke Lynn Hytes – “Whatcha Unpackin” (season 11)
Tasked with formulating a garment based on Drag Race alum, Detox, Brooke Lynn Hytes came up with a latex superhero-inspired look. Using Detox’s love of the 80s and neon colors, Brooke Lynn constructed a skin-tight bodysuit that fit them to a tee. There is not a single flaw in the garment, and Brooke Lynn models it like any top-notch supermodel on the catwalk. Complete with a fluorescent headband, Brooke Lynn showed great aesthetic cohesion. This look was one of the first hints that Brooke Lynn would be one of season 11’s fashion queens.
7 Alaska – “RuPaullywood or Bust” (season 5)
Many of the queens underestimated Alaska and her look from this dumpster diving Drag on a Dime challenge. Using items right out of California’s finest trash bin, Alaska made a beautiful strapless gown that looked more couture than garbage. Alaska did a fantastic job of elevating her less than appealing materials, completely transforming the materials to suit her aesthetic.
The queens’ judgemental attitudes toward Alaska’s fashion went massively unfounded as Alaska ended up in the Top 2 that season. This look was the beginning of viewers getting a peek at just how unique and eccentric Alaska’s style was.
6 Lashauwn Beyond – “RuPocalypse Now!” (Season 4)
In this season 4 episode, contestants had to collect items from previous queens who were dressed as zombies and compose a post-apocalyptic look with those items. With a task as weird as this, it came as no surprise that many of the garments were disastrous, even those that were safe from elimination, However, Lashauwn Beyond’s look was the saving grace of this challenge. Their look managed to be creative and interesting, providing a pleasant mismatch of textures.
5 Valentina – “Draggily Ever After” (Season 9)
The look that spawned comparisons to supermodel Linda Evangelista by the judges, this look was courtesy of season 9’s Drag on a Dime challenge. This episode tasked the contestants to create princess looks and a corresponding sidekick. Valentina’s Princess Vira look was reminiscent of a beautiful ice princess or a whimsical fairy. The construction was on point with not a stitch out of place. Plus, the monochromaticity of the look added to the ethereal quality of the outfit.
4 Ben De La Creme -“RuPaul’s Big Opening” (Season 6)
Tasked with making a runway look out of materials based on assigned TV shows, Ben was given a Golden Girls box and used it to great effect. Even stomping down the runway with cheesecake, Ben made the garment and theme completely their own. The gown fit every curve of Ben’s body perfectly and was even more impressive when Ben revealed that the garment was mostly hot glued together. A headpiece was even made to go with this colorful ensemble from the beloved season 6of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
3 Raja – “The Queen Who Mopped Xmas” (Season 3)
Season 3’s fashion queen unsurprisingly turned it out in this Drag on a Dime challenge. The episode called for thrift store items to be used in a Christmas-inspired outfit. Iconic Los Angeles queen Raja was the rightful winner of this challenge, although Raja faced fierce competition from the stunning Manila Luzon. Rather than relying on an easy and basic dress made of unconventional materials, Raja instead made a three-piece outfit plus neck and headpieces. Raja’s outfit oozed the Christmas spirit while retaining a fashionable edge.
2 Mayhem Miller -“10s Across the Board” (season 10)
Leather gloves adorn this glamourous look from the “10s Across The Board” runway. In this challenge, queens needed to construct an outfit out of found items. There were so many highlights from this runway like Miz Cracker, Aquaria, Yuhua Hamasaki, and even Monet X Change’s notorious sponge dress. This fan-favorite unconventional materials challenge really exemplified the amazing creativity of the season 10 contestants. Mayhem Miller snatched her win with her impeccable leather glove bedecked outfit. The outfit fit her like a glove and completely transformed the materials.
1 Yvie Oddly – “From Farm to Runway” (season 11)
Season 11’s eccentric queen showed their versatility when they constructed a glamorous look out of farm materials such as seeds, burlap, denim, food, and other miscellaneous items. Even though they didn’t cinch the win, Yvie’s awe-inspiring runway look was an underrated stunner of the challenge. The warm color choices with mix-ins of purple make the garment look like a beautiful sunset. The silhouette is distinct and interesting, making this outfit an eye-popping, bold fashion creation.
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