Just days after being crowned the winner of Duck Brand’s national Stuck at Prom contest for her elegant and jaw-dropping duct tape gown, Karla Torres described the inspiration, attention to detail and the long, tedious task of making her winning dress a reality.
“Well, it took a lot of trial and error,” Torres said during an appearance on the KTLA 5 Weekend Morning News. “My mom has a lot of crafting machines, so maybe that gave us an advantage.”
Torres said the base of the dress is a petticoat, and a deconstructed bra was critical in giving the dress its shape.
“Most of the part is using wax paper and then putting duct tape on top of it, which helped us with creating the whole gown,” Torres said.
The gown was inspired by 18th-century French art, with pastel colors and gold highlights. She stumbled onto her creative inspiration while visiting the Getty Museum.
“I took a field trip to the Getty in January,” Torres said. “So I was very inspired by like the French paintings that I saw, very elegant dress. So I knew I wanted to create an elegant dress as well.”
A recent graduate of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School, Torres credited her mom as playing a critical role in helping guide the gown from rough sketch to reality.
Together they used a press machine and metal stencils to cut through the thick wax paper and duct tape layers. They weren’t sure if the method would yield results, but their technique actually made it possible to craft the gown’s finer details.
“We weren’t sure if it was actually going to work. It’s supposed to cut paper,” Torres said. “And it actually did work and it’s what helped us make the trim, the necklace and other flowers. So this discovery helped us a lot with the design.”
Her mom also played an important role as her dressing assistant. The bottom part of the gown, the petticoat, was easy to get into on her own, but the top part required some creativity.
“For the top part, I actually had to get it taped on,” Torres said. “So my mom would help me tape it on. And then to take it off, she’d have to rip it off or cut it.”
The dress consumed 120 hours of her life and the cost of 14 rolls of tape, but Torres said it was all worth it, even though she nearly missed the call informing her of the honor.
“They actually called me and I was sleeping,” Torres said. “So I was like. ‘Hello?’ And then when they told me I was the winner, I was so excited and I just had to tell my mom.”
Because she was crowned the winner of the contest, the dress will now have to leave her side. It’ll be taken to the Duck Brand headquarters to be displayed along with past winners.
But her fashion journey doesn’t end with the gown. She hopes to make other remarkable pieces in the future once completing her degree in business administration.
Her $10,000 scholarship from Duck Brands will go a long way in making those dreams a reality.