Stuck at Prom

1st Place Lara&Cole

Despite what anyone else on Facebook may imply, I wouldn’t go back to high school under any circumstances. Except possibly one: the annual Duck Tape duct tape “Stuck at Prom” contest.



Apparently, 1000s of high school students around the U.S. spend upwards of 342 hours of valuable study/team practice/make out/self doubt time instead crafting duct tape into haute couture. Sadly, this wearable art phenomenon didn’t start until 2001, or I would have been

Runners Up Rebecca & Jay Travis

Based on the entrants’ own write ups, they claim to have used anywhere from 19 to 62 rolls of duck tape to craft their ensembles, which at $6.29-$7.29 a roll, is no huge bargain. Or maybe it is? (I wore a vintage dress to my senior prom in the 1980s, which I bought with babysitting money, so it probably didn’t cost much more than a few rolls of duct tape.) To insure that contestants would have the support of their folks, each member of the winning couples can score as much as $5,000 in scholarship money and $5,000 for their high school.

Runners Up Nasia & Caine

Did I say “entrants’ own write ups”? Yes, and now I want to work in college admissions. The explanations are almost as fun and colorful as the gowns. From the suck up (“we <3 duck tape!”), to the earnest 3rd person fashion lesson (“styled after Victorian era 1830’s clothes”), to the “whatever”, unfortunately, many are united in their misspellings. Go graduating class of 2012!

April & Paola

“As young philosophers and supporters of the arts, we set out to persevere through the trials of the duct tape contest and conquer this worthy adversary. This notion of a heart of gold, the heart of a lion inspired our prom attire; our minds correlated a heart of a lion to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and our Rastafarian theme.“

Runners Up Cole & Gabrielle

The winners were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Workmanship (30%)
  • Originality (25%)
  • Use of Color (25%)
  • Accessories (10%)
  • Use of Duct Tape (10%)

You don’t even really need to know that, as perusing the hundreds of photos, it’s clear who the winners are. Some are winners because their craftsmanship clearly lands them a future spot on Project Runway, or into the Martha Stewart upper echelons of craft superstars; others just because they are so out and proud at age 16.

2nd Place Kelvin & Kailie detail


There are a few entries who weren’t official winners, but you know their mothers think they should have been. Good on all of them, I say. I’m just so dang jealous.

For more information and pictures of ALL the entrants, go here.


3 thoughts on “Stuck at Prom

  1. Called it!
    The March 7, 2013 airing of Project Runway, Season 11, Episode 7: “A Sticky Situation”, featured the “Stuck at Prom” challenge! So excellent. The winners took the exact right spirit of the project, while the losers tried to fight the medium and make duct tape look like fabric. Tim Gunn: “If we wanted you to make it out of fabric, we would have taken you to Mood!”. Revisiting these photos, many of the winning looks from the actual high school prom contest, bested the pros.

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