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Richmond teen’s monument-inspired dress becomes finalist in Duck Tape contest

Giles Ferrell's Duck Tape dress was inspired by the statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E....
Giles Ferrell's Duck Tape dress was inspired by the statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Ferrell is now a finalist with the chance of winning $10,000.(Duckbrand.com)
Published: Jul. 11, 2021 at 10:57 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A Richmond teen has become a finalist in the often-viral Duck Tape contest that challenges adolescents to create show-stopping gowns and tuxes out of colored tape for a chance to win $10,000.

Giles Ferrell used 17 rolls of tape and 84 hours to create her one-of-a-kind gown inspired by the Richmond statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue.

“When I saw the spray painted Robert E. Lee Statue, I was struck by the raw emotion in the gathered words. I saw anger, frustration, and injustice,” Ferrell said in her essay about the handmade dress.

These emotions inspired Ferrell to design the dress’ hoop skirt and corset bodice to nod at the antebellum era, while bright colors represent graffiti and the statue’s modern era. Words like “love,” “broken,” “peace,” and “Floyd” cover the dress’ skirt with vibrant colors.

The back of Giles Ferrell's Duck Tape dress was kept blank to signify the voice of future...
The back of Giles Ferrell's Duck Tape dress was kept blank to signify the voice of future generations.(Duckbrand.com)

“The chain motif on the bodice and the padlock necklace represent slavery and the continued suppression of people of color. However, these chains take on new meaning when examined through a lens of love; humanity is a chain of people that is connected by love,” Ferrell said.

The back of the dress, however, is largely blank with swirls of bright colors.

“The past and present merge in the front of the dress, but the back is left empty for the future generations,” Ferrell wrote.

As a finalist, Ferrell has the chance to win $500 as a runner up, or $10,000 as one of two winners. Voting is open until July 14 via this link.

“My dress embodies the state of my city and the larger world,” Ferrell said. “Through my dress, I can say, ‘Although we often feel fragmented and discordant, love joins us together and makes us beautiful.’”

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