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Duct Tape Dress Debut
Pamlico High Prom Oufit From Classic Grey Duct Tape
April 17, 2005

I
t’s said that duct tape holds the world together. At the very least, it held the prom gown together for one young woman attending the Pamlico High Senior Prom this weekend.

Finally – formal wear that’s easy to repair.
Charis Hill’s prom dress was a shimmering affair. From a distance it glittered like silver lame, On closer view, though, the material was a little more familiar, more everyday, but not on a prom gown.

A Pamlico High senior from Oriental, Charis says that since she was a freshman, she wanted to make a prom gown out of duct tape. So she did.

She began work on it in the winter and says that she added the final pieces on Saturday — “it’s never-ending” Charis says — hours before she headed to the prom with her friends Meredith Beeman and Tyler Seward. We caught up with them as they headed in to M&M’s Cafe for dinner before the prom. So, we had to ask, why a dress out of duct tape?

“I’m just weird” she explained.

It’s apparent Charis was also very creative in constructing the dress.

One thing to be clear about, while this was tape she was working with, Charis didn’t treat it like tape; it was not plastered to her skin. The duct tape, she says, “is taped to itself”.

It was a dress that you literally put on like any other.

By Charis’ estimate, 5 rolls of duct tape went in to making the gown (we’re still working on how much that is in square yards).

On Saturday evening, Charis was wearing the remainder of Roll Number Five as a bracelet, where it would also come in handy for emergency repairs.

The dress featured two straps across the back and in the front, two pockets. One was for her money. The other, Charis showed us, was to hold the small scissors she planned to use during the night to cut the dress to a shorter length, “so I can dance!”

With the scissors in her right hand (and roll of tape in her left) Charis can modify the dress during the prom.
The shoes Charis wore are likely the only ones at the prom made in Oriental (or the USA for that matter). She made them with, yes, duct tape, packing lots of tape to create a low 1-inch heel and then topping them with crisscross straps.

Charis rounded out the outfit with glitter over her eyes — not made of duct tape, we noted — a pendant of a soccer ball (Charis played on the Pamlico High boys team) and a small corsage of red rosettes, slightly dried. “It’s a month old” she noted.

Meredith Beeman, Tyler Seward and Charis Hill. Beeman and Seward had somewhat more traditional formal wear.
Charis, daughter of Caroline Hill and Simon Whitehead (who proudly alerted us to the dress making its debut at M&M’s) is headed to Meredith College in the fall, as is her friend Meredith Beeman. Their friend Tyler Seward is a sophomore at Pamlico High. With two more proms ahead of him, there’s still another chance to see a duct tape dress. But the odds are long….

Even the shoes are made of Duct Tape.

Posted Sunday April 17, 2005 by Keith N. Smith


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