Duct tape prom outfits could land local couple scholarship money

aroberts@herald-leader.comJuly 1, 2013 

This year's prom theme at Tates Creek High School was "A Night of Enchantment." It was an evening filled with flowing chiffon dresses, fragile updos and ... duct tape.

When Ashley Whaley, 16, asked Ian Hafley, 17, to prom in February there was one catch: He had to wear a Duck Brand Duct Tape suit while she wore a matching duct tape dress.

Ashley, who says she has no experience in fashion design, decided to create her dress and Ian's suit for the Duck Brand Duct Tape "Stuck at Prom" Scholarship Contest.

"I hesitated a little," Ian said. "But then I agreed because I've seen how creative she is."

Their duct tape outfits launched the pair to the top 10 entries for the online "Stuck at Prom" scholarship contest, making them eligible for the first, second, and third place prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 each. The couple with the most votes will win the scholarship prize.

Voting is open through July 8. To vote once a day, go to Duckbrand.com/promotions/stuck-at-prom.

"It was just a new project," Ashley said.

In keeping with contest rules, the entire dress and suit were made of duct tape, but Ashley and Ian took an extra step and made matching duct tape dress shoes, a purse, heels and earrings. Even Ashley's fingernails were covered with duct tape.

The pair, including friend and fellow "designer" Emma Anderson, 17, made several sheets of duct tape by taping the sticky sides of the strips together. With the sheets of tape, they were able to create the torso for the dress. The ruffled skirt was made of doughnut-looking sheets of tape that, when cut and put on a straight line, would ruffle.

Needless to say, working with one of the stickiest substances in the modern home was a challenge.

"My first green torso I scrapped because it was terrible, and my second one was looking that way, but Emma helped fix it," Ashley said.

Sixty-four hours and 37 rolls of duct tape later, the two had an outfit even their friends couldn't believe.

"They didn't know what to expect," Ashley said. "But they were so impressed."

On Ashley, green tape was fitted for the upper bodice with a deep V neckline, not unlike the neckline on Charlize Theron's white Christian Dior gown on the red carpet for this year's Academy Awards.

An array of bright pinks, oranges, yellows, blues and reds were paired with contrasting pastels to add brightness and dimension to the ruffle skirt that fell just below mid-thigh on Ashley.

The pièce de résistance on the dress was the intricate front and back detailing, which resembled laser-cut fabric, although it was carefully cut designs in blue tape sandwiched between clear packing tape.

Ian looked equally sharp in his blue duct tape suit, which matched the blue band on Ashley's dress.

The notched lapels on the jacket match the white taped buttons and pocket flaps on the suit jacket. The suit vest was also taped white with green buttons to match his necktie and the top of Ashley's dress.

Ashley and Ian, high school juniors, stood out in their homemade creations at the prom in May, but both admit that their outfits were not the most comfortable.

"It was really stiff, so it was pretty tough to dance," Ashley said, laughing.

Anyssa Roberts: (859) 231-1409. Twitter: @LexGoKy.

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