Owner, and co-founder Lou is a huge drag fan. He started watching RuPaul's Drag Race during the first season and rooted for his local queen, Nina Flowers during her metoric rise on the show. At the time, he was working in fashion with a local celebrity and designer. Lou started going to a local establishments once a month drag show, hosted by Nina Flowers and saw all kinds of amazing local talent and even some of the RuGirls from the shows early seasons.
Through the years he has been a huge supporter of local drag performers and new and emerging talent. Strap Up sponsored an amazing drag competition hosted by Gladys: The Nosey Neighbor aptly named Weirdo for 2 years, awarding many drag performers with gear to use in thier perfomances. The competition was one of the most successful in Denver! Lou was a regular at this show and enjoyed meeting all the new talented queer artists!
Yvie and Lou's friendship started somewhere around 2016 in the smoking area of Tracks during a show. Yvie has always been a presence, from her tall stature to her unmistakable laugh. In 2018, Yvie approached Lou to create a harness for a top secret project. Lou had a hunch, but of course was sworn to secrecty. Stephen and Lou then began the process of creating a part of what could arguably be the most talked about look on the runway for season 11 of RuPaul's Drag Race.
At the time Lou & Stephen were working in Stephen's garage, and had Yvie over for a fitting. It was awesome to be able to do all the fitting and literally create the full body harness that day so she could take it with her and finish the rest of the look. After the piece was completed, it was embellished by the amazing Morgan Taylor, Yvie's former creative partner. Lou spent many days with The Odd Squad™ prepping looks for our friend to show the world their own perspective on Drag and the world. Look out world, Yvie was coming... Beep Beep,Toot toot!
Lou waited patiently for her return. It was a long 8 weeks. When she returned, Stephen & Lou invited her to dinner, just to find out if it actually hit the mainstage.
Lou wasn't shocked when the answer was yes, it was quite an exciting thing to hear. It was hard for them to control thier exitement in thier favorite mediteranian resturant.
Our work was going to be seen on national TV. In front of RuPaul. It was words that one couldn't imagine hearing. For Lou, it was absolutely astounding and he was thrilled. He approached Yvie after the meeting and pledged his free time to helping with any projects leading up to and even after the premier.
Lou was part of a great team of queer individuals that brought some of Yvie's post show looks to life for press week. From the rarely seen Youtube Meet the Queens Video, Lou assisted with stoning several accessories, from the wood elf press week look, Lou and Yvie's Fabric run where Lou noticed that the distressed fabric they had picked out actually was in the shape of trees, to stoning the shoes for the Finale, Lou's experience being creative next to so many queer artists was very inspiring.
Lou watched his friend rise to the top during her first 4 weeks on the show, then, in week 5, it all happend.
On March 28, 2019 Stephen and Lou were at Tracks Nightclub to witness Yvie take the mainstage of RuPaul's Drag Race in a full body harness as a sexy T-Rex and impressed all of the judges, including Cara Delevingne, and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
📷: Ben Segren @isthatjupiter
As the show continued, Lou and the rest of the Odd Squad continued to support our friend as she made her mark on national television.
The Odd Squad was invited to come and assist Yvie in LA for the Finale Taping, and Lou of course jumped at the chance! The experience was amazing. We had such an amazing time hanging out with all of the season 11 queens and Lou even had the chance to meet Aquaria and Monet!
Lou was asked to help bring together a last minute Idea that Yvie had for the Lipsync, and the day before the finale, Lou stoned "FREE BRITNEY" into a pair of green shorts that would flash for just a second on the FINALE of RUPAULS drag race... He even missed out on a date because of it! (Sorry, Sam!)
All in all, the experience was one that Lou never thought would be a reality. He is so thankful to know such amazing and talented artists and be inspired to create things with and for them. The Pandemic has really made Lou miss all of these peoplen and the memories of this night and time will be a highlight for Lou and for Strap Up for years to come.