July 28, 2014

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Thanks to Avon company, ‘Project Runway’ designers face a sticky situation

The color and design of Duck Tape brand duct tape has gone far beyond the typical silver hue that started it all.

AVON — If you’re not already a fan of “Project Runway,” you may get stuck on it after this week’s episode.

That’s because Avon’s famed Duck Tape brand tape will be front and center on the series’ annual “Unconventional Materials” episode that challenges aspiring designers to use out-of-the-ordinary materials to create eye-catching fashions.

“This is the first time we’ve done this, and we’re super-excited about it,” said Ami DeWille, ShurTech’s senior marketing and brand manager Tuesday. ShurTech is the brand’s parent company.

The episode, which airs 9 p.m. Thursday, sees teams of designers concocting various “looks” that illustrate what DeWille termed the versatility of Duck Tape.

Beginning with dress patterns cut from muslin, the teams proceed to fashioning dresses with strips of Duck Tape as fabric.

“You follow the same steps as if you were creating any other garment,” DeWille said. “There’s a lot of sewing involved, and draping of fabric on bust forms. Viewers are in for some fun.”

The episode was filmed some time ago, but DeWille declined to say exactly when the New York City taping occurred.

The inspiration to approach producers of the Lifetime Channel series about an episode employing Duck Tape sprang from the company’s long-running Duck Brand at Prom Scholarship Contest, Deville said. Through that contest, the tape has already found a range of uses in such distinctly non-industrial areas as corsages, earrings and necklaces, wallets, purses and flowers.

“A lot of what is made depends on the levels of how creative and innovative you are,” DeWille said.

The show’s designer teams had about a day to transform their ideas from sketches to reality.

“It’s a fairly intense exercise with a quick turnaround,” DeWille said. “It puts the pressure on.”

Seeing Duck Tape showcased on “Project Runway” is somewhat ironic for DeWille, who put her undergrad degree in textiles and fashion and an MBA to use working for various fashion industry retailers over a career spanning two decades.

“It’s ironic and cool that what got me the closest to the fashion industry is this project,” DeWille said.

To check out more about Duck Tape’s foray into the world of high fashion, visit duckbrand.com or YouTube’s Duck Brand Channel.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.