Habitat for Humanity puts unique twist on new community event

Haley Halvorson

Imagine walking down the runway wearing glamorous makeup, lights and cameras everywhere, but instead of a shiny satin dress, you’re wearing a dress made of wallpaper, wood and electrical wire.

The Brookings Habitat for Humanity is hosting its first-ever Nail the Runway: Stud Gala. It’s a construction-based fashion show that requires designers to use at least 50 percent construction material in creating their outfits.

Molly Wicks, instructor in the School of Design, is getting her class of 70 introduction to design students involved. For an assignment, students broke into groups of 14 to design an outfit for the show.

“Because this kind of project has some serious parameters, like having to use construction materials, it makes for some very different and unique creations,” Wicks said.

She was asked by a community member if she would be interested in being involved in the event and thought it would a great opportunity for her students.

Wicks gave her students a little less than a month to work on their outfits.

The groups started with Tyvek paper, which is a nonwoven synthetic material, as a fabric-oriented base, then added materials like old wood, Duct tape, PVC piping and other materials students could find around the classroom.

Jana Krogmann, director of affiliated operations at Habitat for Humanity, and other staff members decided mirrors would be the element every outfit had to have incorporated.

Groups could also buy other construction-based materials to complete their outfit.

Rachel Harmon, freshman graphic design major, and her group bought chicken wire and used the Tyvek paper provided to start the design process.

“I’m pretty excited for the community to see our model walk down the runway in the outfit we made,” Harmon said. “I think this is a great way to show the more artistic side of Brookings.”

Harmon and her group used a reflective Duct tape as their mirrored element.

Some groups in Wicks’ class tried to make their outfits look more structural, while Harmon’s group tried to make their design look like something that might be seen in a store.

“Getting it to look like clothing was the hardest part at first,” Harmon said.

Krogmann is planning the event and even designing her own outfit for the show.

She’s also been working with Executive Director Dan McColley, who heard that the Home Builders Association in Rochester, Minnesota did an event similar to this one for their Habitat for Humanity.

Krogmann and some other staff members spent a year planning for this event and consider themselves lucky to have so many participants.

In addition to the 14 groups from Wicks’ design class, there are 11 more designers showcasing an outfit.

While the event is primarily a way for people to come see what designs local community members and SDSU students have created, it is also to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity provides affordable housing around the community and, to McColley, it is a critical part of the Brookings community.

“1.6 billion people will go to sleep tonight in substandard housing, and everybody deserves a decent place to live,” he said.

McColley thinks of the Stud Gala as a way to strengthen the community and improve the lives of people across the globe by raising money and spreading awareness.

Krogmann and McColley hope to have the event again next year and the following year for the Brookings Habitat for Humanity’s 25th anniversary.

The two wanted to have enough experience with the event to make the 25th anniversay even more special.

“Habitat for Humanity does some really great things for our community,” Wicks said, “It’s always good to support groups like that and it helps us at SDSU push creativity in a different way that hasn’t been done before.”

The event is at 6:30 p.m., March 24 at The Old Sanctuary and tickets are $50. The show is a chance to get dressed-up, have dinner and see some unique designs.