Industrial strength fashion
Students earn recognition with duct tape clothing
Like many other teenage girls, Cari Diers shopped for a special material to make her prom dress. Unlike most girls, Diers found her material at a hardware store.
Four days before the Baldwin City junior to be was to accompany Mill Valley High School senior Marcus Cockroft to his prom last April, her date asked Diers to consider a change of plans. Instead of wearing the dress she had picked out, Cockroft asked Diers to consider wearing one made of duct tape as part of Duck Tape's "Stuck on Prom" promotion.
"He e-mailed me asking if I would consider it," Diers said. "My answer was, 'It's a totally weird idea. Let's go for it.'
"I never would have thought duct tape could be made into a dress."
Thirty hours and five rolls of duct tape later, and Diers' unique prom dress was finished. Especially time consuming was crafting the decorations in blue and red she placed on the her floor-length skirt, Diers said.
Meanwhile, Cockroft and his mother were modifying a suit with layers of gray, orange and blue duct tape.
As part of a contest, Duck Tape offered to place photos of prom goers dressed in duct tape on its Web site www.ducttapeclub.com/prom. Diers and Cockroft were among 476 couples posting photos. Last week, they were one of 25 couples chosen as finalists by popular vote.
Monday, a panel of what is billed as Duck Tape artists chose a California couple as the contest's winners. They each won a $2,500 scholarship and an additional $2,500 for their high school.
Cockroft, who is spending the summer as an intern at De Soto Youth Ministries, said he and Diers were well received at the prom. A number of his fellow students wanted their pictures taken with him in a gangster-like pose, he said.
"We didn't get made fun of," he said. "I'm sure Cari felt more foolish than me. I'm a goofy kind of guy."
Diers said she was prepared for any reaction.
"I'm a pretty self-confident person," she said. "I have a good image of myself. I'm glad the other kids accepted me and enjoyed it, but it wouldn't have made any difference to me if they hadn't."
Their outfits may have been eye-catching, but duct tape has a downside, Diers and Cockroft said.
"It was really hot," Cockroft said. "You kind of had to keep it together without pieces falling off."
Besides being hot, the tape prevented the couple from enjoying one prom activity.
"Usually a dress will flow when you dance, but this one didn't," Diers said. "I couldn't sit down without pieces falling off or folding in half."
While Diers indicated her duct tape wardrobe days are over, Cockroft didn't rule out future fashion possibilities.
"Duct tape's useful stuff," he said. "Some designers are using it in their clothes.
"Duck Tape is having a contest to design your wedding clothes. I don't think my future bride whoever that might be would go for that."