Among several impressive submissions from teens, there is a ninth-grader who has become one of the finalists after beating 102 dress designs
Thanks to the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest, high schoolers with a knack for designing, crafting, and sketching are now showcasing their incredible skills in a bid to win a $10,000 scholarship. Among several impressive submissions from teens, there is a ninth-grader who has become one of the finalists after beating 102 dress designs. Erika Avellaneda decided to participate in this contest thinking it would be a "super fun" experience as "it's not like your average scholarship where you have to write essays," she told CTV News. The judges had their work cut out for them as there was an array of interesting submissions from teenagers who not only created breathtaking prom dresses but also tuxedos made entirely out of duct tape. Luckily for the Ottawa student, she managed to dazzle the panel with her design which stood out from the rest.
Avellaneda's creation was a two-piece dress that featured bold patterns of gold and blue on a black canvas. The gown, which had an open front and a long, elegant trailing skirt, took the teenager 143 hours to make. Using 17 rolls of duct tape, Avellaneda made her artist vision a reality and completed the look with matching accessories and eye makeup. "I worked for about 143 hours. Some days, I worked five hours, other days one or two," she shared, adding the dress probably weighs around 6 pounds. "It was a hard process. A lot of sitting down and working, but it was worth it." Noting her inspiration behind the dress, Avellaneda said that she was inspired by the impressive hues and styles that were used in ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt while designing the outfit.
In addition to the judge, Avellaneda's sister Claudia has also been mesmerized by the unique design. "I think it's incredible. I'm completely obsessed with it," she said, adding, "Erika is a little shy, but she's so creative. This is kind of like her way of speaking out and showing all the incredible designs that are in her head. I'm so proud of her. Everything I do is for Erika. She is such a queen. I'm so proud of her and she's only 15 years old. A lot of the other finalists are in their senior year in high school." As for the young designer's mother, Annette Dillon, she explained how her daughter has always been a natural when it came to art and design. "I think the dress is stunning. I think it's a real masterpiece," said Annette gushing about her daughter's masterpiece.
Gr 9 Erika Avellaneda made this stunning prom dress out of 17 rolls of duct tape, for a chance to win scholarship money. Hear how she did it on 91.5fm CBC LISTEN App https://t.co/elsZEblOEA pic.twitter.com/mCovIJAH6c— CBCOttawaMorning (@OttawaMorning) July 7, 2021
"Erika has always liked the idea of castles, ballroom dancing. For me, it gave a child the chance to get out of her head—you know, the worries of the pandemic and school and not completing your courses—and do something physical with her hands. So I think that was a huge benefit," she added applauding the unusual focus of the scholarship contest. While submitting her work to the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest, Avellaneda explained how she started by creating something that would fit the white academia aesthetic. "I pictured this dress being worn in a big architectural baroque castle ballroom dancing to classical music, like the ones you see in Rome and Greece. Originally the dress was fully white, but I was also inspired in doing a black-on-white clash. I was inspired by the style and colors that you would find in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt," she explained.
"A big part of the dress’s inspiration was the colors of ancient Egypt like gold, white, black, and turquoise/blue," she added. "Once I realized that a lot of the colors I was already using were similar to those of the evil eye I knew I had to add it in. The evil eye can symbolize multiple means depending on what cultures you ask. Some may say that it attracts evil spirits, others say that it can cast a malevolent gaze back upon those who wish you harm. I was inspired by both, but I would like that my dress reflects a malevolent gaze upon those who wish harm on me." The teen also shared that she had a great time working on the project and that she would not forget it anytime soon, irrespective of whether she wins the contest or not.
"I'm also pretty happy that I now get to have the dress and get to wear it," she noted. "It's something that I get to have and tell people about. It's definitely a cool thing to talk about." You can check out all the talented finalists and their marvelous creations below. Although the voting lines have closed, you can click here to find out the winner once it's announced.