Daniel Pearl Magnet High School

Students stuck on making prom outfits

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Junior David Diaz stands still while senior Vanessa Fano works on the pants for his outfit. / Natalie Moore

Strip of tape after strip of tape, senior Vanessa Fano and junior David Diaz piece together their prom outfits using Duct Tape.

Fano and Diaz are tasked with creating a male and a female outfit primarily out of duct tape that can be worn to prom. The use of materials other than duct tape are allowed but creativity is awarded by how the tape is used.

“We were interested in this because we are both kind of artsy and it was something fun to do in our high school experience,” Fano said.

Fano chose to work with Diaz on this project and they share the work 50-50. She chose him to be her partner because she knew he would be reliable and that he wouldn’t disappoint her.

“I thought it would be an interesting experience and something fun to do with Vanessa,” Diaz said.

Fano found out about this scholarship when she was researching and saw it come up. She brought it to the attention of music teacher Jackie Gorski, who passed it onto the senior class. Gorski sent an email to students and faculty to let them know about the public voting component to this contest.

The theme of their outfits are day and night. Fano’s outfit will represent the night and Diaz’s outfit will represent day. The theme can be seen through the use of colors, with lighter colors of tape showing day and darker tape showing night.

“We mainly picked this theme because it’s something recognizable but not overused and it’s different,” Fano said.

They can only use “Duck Brand” Duct Tape and the tape itself can be difficult to find. Each roll of tape costs about $6, sometimes plus the cost of shipping. So far they have used over 20 rolls and they are only half way done. Fano and Diaz have to find stores that have the tape they need in stock or wait to order it online.

Fano’s mom and sister are knowledgeable about sewing and making clothes so Fano already has prior knowledge going into this competition.

“In a sense it is an advantage because I learn from them but in the contest itself, they can’t actually help,” Fano said.

Every Friday, Diaz meets with Fano to work on the outfits and they usually work together for about four hours. The weekend allows them the opportunity to work for longer periods of time and they also make more progress. They work on it throughout the week as well but it can be challenging to get parts of it done during the school week.

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These are Vanessa Fano’s preliminary designs of the prom outfits. / Natalie Moore

The first place prize for the “Stuck at Prom” scholarship is $10,000 for both participants and $5,000 for the school. This scholarship is sponsored by Shurtech Brands. High school students have had the opportunity to compete in this scholarship contest for over two years.

Fano hasn’t heard from her top choice college, USC, yet but if she is accepted there, that is the school where she would put the scholarship toward.

“It is an interesting way to help with paying for college,” Fano said.

The contest began on March 16 and ends on July 15. Once the outfits are completed, Fano and Diaz upload pictures of themselves wearing the outfits to the “Duck Brand” Duct Tape website. Then, judges will review the contestants and give their input on the decision of the finalists. After the finalists are selected, the public will be able to vote online and give their input regarding who the winner should be.

“For me, I know it’s important to get people talking about it right away even if voting isn’t for a month,” Gorski said.

-Ilana Gale