While I have always considered duct tape to be a remarkable invention, used to do everything from holding diapers together to fixing space stations, I never really thought this versatile tool could be used as an artistic device as well. But my notion was miles away from the truth—a visit to the Duck Tape Experience store in the Garment District opened my eyes to the cool quotient of duct tape.
Walking into the Duck Tape brand duct tape pop-up store was like walking into a riot of color—I couldn’t find any of the drab silver tape I was familiar with in this space. Instead, the rolls of tape here were available in an assortment of colors and patterns. The variety was rather amazing—there was tape covered with everything from gleeful flying pigs to a rather sullen-looking Justin Bieber, Hello Kitty to Sponge Bob Square-Pants, and much, much more.
As to what can one do with all these patterns—examples of their potential were strewn around the store. After seeing the intricate flowers and the flashy shoes and handbags, one visitor to the store exclaimed, “Who knew one could do all this with duct tape!” Fashion enthusiasts will especially enjoy the costumes and jewelry showcased in the store, some of which were made in an episode of this season’s Project Runway.
The store also contained dresses made by American teenagers participating in Duck Tape’s 13-year-old Stuck at Prom scholarship contest, in which high school students around the country are invited to construct their entire prom outfit(s) out of duct tape, and the winners receive cash prizes for both themselves and their schools. (Note: the 2013 contest is currently underway—the entry period ends June 10, 2013.)
As I walked around the brightly colored space, store manager Kevin Bedwell and his assistants were on-hand to help with any doubts or queries. “This is the first time that Duck Tape has done a full storefront,” he said. He said that while the store’s primary intention is to give people a great, fun experience, Duck Tape is also donating a portion of all sales made at the store to Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization that promotes autism research and awareness.
While visitors to the store were eager to snap pictures of themselves next to the store’s centerpieces (a giant shoe and a giant handbag, both made out of duct tape, were the general favorites), many were also stocking up on the colorful tapes on sale. Fashion designer Ivy Supersonic was one such happy shopper. “I think this is one of the coolest stores I have seen in my life!” she said. “It’s a great little pop-up, and it’d be a great long-time store in this location.”
But the Duck Tape pop-up store is here in New York only for a temporary stay—New Yorkers have until April 28th to visit this one-of-a-kind store. With over 200 different colors and patterns to choose from, this store is certain to change the way you look at duct tape—as Duck Tape’s senior category manager, Ami DeWille, told me in an interview: “Duct tape has gone from tool to cool.”
The Duck Tape Experience pop-up store can be found until April 28th at 1411 Broadway in the Garment District and is open on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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