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More on duct tape - fashion, wedding, sculpting

Think big for duct tape...seems there is no limit.  Tapping duct tape's
fashion potential
Not just for defense,the sticky stuff can be a stylish accessory


By Candus Thomson
Sun Staff
Originally published May 25, 2003

Duct tape accessories are the new black.

Well, maybe that's going too far. But duct tape handbags and wallets are
definitely the new silver.

In the hands of David Pippenger and friends, the do-it-all tape has
crashed the fashion world like LeRoy Neiman at the musee du Louvre.

The accessories - two wallets, a purse and a palm-sized cash-and-ID
holder called "Barhopper"-made their debut last August at the Fashion
Avenue Merchandise Expo in New York and the MAGIC fashion show in Las

Since then, 700 retail outlets have put on their shelves the products by

"It's a minor rage, a small fad," says April Marshall, who has sold more
than two dozen wallets at her shop, Twigs and Teacups, on the Eastern
Shore. "There's a gigantic duct-tape thing going on."

It didn't hurt that the Department of Homeland Security made silver tape
and plastic sheeting the must-have items for every American family.

"Duct tape is people's first line of defense for everything," says
Pippenger, a rock climber and backpacker who is a screenwriter and owns a
video production house.

The idea came from Pippenger's niece, who in January 2002 gave a homemade
duct-tape wallet to Pippenger's 18-year-old son. Jonathan Pippenger took
it to college in New York, where his roommate loved it, too.

"My wife and I are incurable entrepreneurs. We figured if a 15-year-old
kid from Phoenix, an 18-year-old from Colorado and a 20-year-old from New
York thought it was cool, it was cool," says Pippenger, who also has a
22-year-old daughter.

The problem, David and Joy Pippenger discovered, was that duct tape is
tacky, and not in an aesthetic sense. It seems hardware-store duct tape
has a quality that doesn't bother handymen, but is a definite problem for
the fashion-conscious.

"It gets gooey, it falls apart in the heat and it stinks," says
Pippenger, covering all the bases.

The 47-year-old tried several duct-tape manufacturers before taking his
problem last June to Tyco Adhesives, the industry giant.

Intrigued by the request, Tyco put its research and development team to

"[Pippenger] sent us some samples of the wallets and purses, which anyone
who works for a duct-tape company would find pretty cool," Brian McBride,
head of industrial marketing, told Adhesives Age magazine. "Researchers
were pretty excited to work on something so interesting."

Four prototypes later, they had a solution: ooze-less, odorless "Super
Duct Tape."

From that point on, it was a scramble to get ready for the fashion shows
in New York and Las Vegas.

"We were making samples by hand in the hotel room the night before," says

The wallets and bags were a hit, and Christmas orders began flooding the
tiny company based in Monument, Colo. (pop. 1,971).

"We have skate shops in Texas and surf shops in Florida, but people in
Chestertown, Md., think it's pretty cool, too," says Pippenger, laughing.

That's true, says Marshall, who was the first shop owner in the country
to reorder.

"I love entertaining men who come in the shop. I like to keep them
amused," she says. "To them, the wallets make a definite statement and
they're inexpensive."

The wallets are $18 and $20. The purse is $25 and the "Barhopper" is $15.
Each one comes with a "Super Duct Tape Repair Strip" to cover wear and
tear or damage.

The Pippengers, who invested $100,000 in their venture, last month sold
more than $100,000 worth of accessories.

"The interesting thing is staying in front of the demand," says
Pippenger. "Stores are waiting four weeks to get a shipment. Pinocchio is
turning into a real boy. "

What's next, checkbook covers, date books, PDA holders? Whatever is - and
Pippenger is keeping it under wraps until July - it has to have staying
power, he says.

"The difference between a Barbie doll and a Cabbage Patch doll is 30
years," says Pippenger. "One has come and gone while the other is still
here. So now it's put up or shut up time."

For more information about the DUCT line, call 866-GET-DUCTI. or

Copyright ) 2003, The Baltimore Sun | Get home delivery

Duct Tape Creates Sticky Fashion Situation

Thursday, June 07, 2001

By Marla Lehner


NEW YORK  Artists, designers and anyone with a wacky sense of humor have
become, uh, stuck on a new obsession  duct tape.

It's a sticky situation for sure. But hard as it is to believe, the lazy
mans favorite tool for fixing everything from leaky hoses to jiggly
doorknobs has morphed into prom wear, wedding dress material and even a
sculpting medium.

"I am actually now a professional duct tape artist," proclaimed Todd
Scott, 28, who has a master's in biology and geography from the
University of Winnepeg. "Its a hobby that has become a career. I wake up
every morning and I just start laughing."

His creations include a life-size sculpture of Babe Ruth, a duct tape
jacket for Henry Winkler (aka, The Fonz), an 8 =- foot-tall Tyrannosaurus
rex, and a matching kilt and vest set he wears to the many duct tape
events he attends.

Sure, it's not so breathable. "But with a kilt, you have a nice little
draft from down below," Scott said.

The duct tape movement, if you will, can be traced to 1995, when Tim
Nyberg and Jim Berg wrote The Duct Tape Book, the first in a series of
four paperback tomes about unconventional uses for the tape. The Duct
Tape Guys, as the two brothers-in-law call themselves, tapped into a
reserve of duct tape enthusiasts.

Their Web site, www.ducttapeguys.com, is evidence of the duct tape
movement's reach. The site is chock full of trivia as well as links to
fans sites from all over the country.

Duct Tape Fashion

A rainbow of new colors of duct tape, from camouflage to Day-Glo, has
fueled a fashion trend. Thanks to the variety of hues, duct tape
enthusiasts are getting decked out in everything from bikinis to Hawaiian
shirts, to shoes, top hats, dresses, jackets and more.

One designer, Emilie Autumn, features a $300 three-piece duct tape suit,
a $150 dress and a variety of silver accessories on her Web site,

"If people think of duct tape clothing without seeing it, they think it
would be wrinkled up and wadded up," said Autumn. "But when done
correctly it looks just like leather."

The 28-year-old Californian began using the tape in fashion shows a
couple of years ago. "At first it was for people's amusement," she said.
"But people are starting to take it more seriously."

And this year Manco, the company that produces Duck brand duct tape,
sponsored a contest in which it offered a $2,500 scholarship to the
couple who made and wore the most creative duct tape suit and dress to
their high-school prom.

"We've been bombarded [with entries]," said Gary Medalis, vice president
of communications for Manco. "One couple did all red and blue duct tape.
And the guy dyed his hair blue."

Some couples included pictures of their dogs in duct tape outfits and
even their cars covered in it, said Medalis. "They know no boundaries,
which is great because duct tape doesn't come with any instructions."

Here Comes the Bride

The biggest event is yet to come. This September, Joyce Lotta and Kevin
Thomas will take their wedding vows wearing a duct tape wedding dress and
tuxedo, exchange duct tape rings, walk down a silver duct tape carpet and
even display, if not taste, an elaborate duct tape cake.

Lotta and Thomas were chosen from throngs of couples who applied for the
all-expenses paid wedding, which also includes a honeymoon in Hawaii,
sponsored by Manco. "They submitted a video telling why their marriage
would be like duct tape," said Manco's Valerie Stump. "You can tell they
have a really strong bond."

The bride will wear white, the groom will don royal blue and silver and
the ceremony will take place outside Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
"We want to keep the class of the wedding," said Stump. "They're having
fun with it. Their family can't wait."

 Bonnie Zone 6+ ETNholmesbm@usit.net  

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