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And who are we wearing tonight? Duct tape, actually

Students stick to unusual prom apparel plan


Dancing and sitting down may have been out of the question on prom night, but, when things get sticky, juniors Baylee DeVos and Blake Johnson know just what to do. A little tape here, a little tape there, and they make sticky stylin’.

Baylee, a Caledonia High School student who spends her mornings in the Graphics Communications program at Kent Career Tech Center, recruited her friend and Tech Center classmate junior Blake Johnson to take on a major art project: create a dress, tuxedo and accessories including shoes, a purse, corsage, boutonniere and hat completely out of duct tape and wear them to prom. Hers was May 5, and his, for The Potter’s House where he is a student, was last Saturday, May 12.

Blake Johnson poses in his sticky suit

While a hoop skirt and yards of tape make dance steps nearly impossible for Baylee, Blake has another challenge. “My pants really can’t bend at all. To put them on I have to lie down,” Blake said.

Baylee worked on her designs in open studio art class at Caledonia, where she chose it as an independent project. Together, she and Blake spent 150 hours over four-and-a-half months and used 47 rolls of tape on the project. They showcased their work at the Caledonia High School Fine Arts Night.

The duo is entering their work into the Stuck at Prom competition, sponsored by the Duck Tape brand they used, with hopes of winning a $10,000 scholarship. They are entering in separate dress and tux categories. Finalists will be announced in June and the winner selected through online voting, and Baylee and Blake are asking for votes by reminding people to text @votebnb to 81010 if they become finalists. Materials were supplied by sponsors Contempo Salon and Day Spa, Caledonia Village Ace Hardware and Mullers Paint N Paper.

Baylee DeVos is adorned in duct tape for prom

Fulfilling a Dream

“It was something I always really wanted to do since middle school,” said Baylee, who learned how to turn tape into fashion through trial and error. “It was a really big blessing this year that everything aligned right. School stuff helped a lot out with that.”

She worked in her art class, creating panels of tape and using mannequins to create the form. Blake used an actual suit to trace the outline of the duct-tape form and match sizes.

At the Tech Center, they learned to pull designs together. The project merges graphic, fashion and 3-D design, said Kylie Dykema, layout and design instructor.

“We focus heavily on design, how colors play together, how different elements can attract target audiences,” Dykema said. “We focus on being creative and developing a creative audience and stepping outside of the box. I think a duct-tape dress and tux is definitely a step outside of the box.”

Baylee plans to major in graphic design, possibly at Ferris State University, and Blake hopes to become a video game designer or missionary.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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