A new way to design – Brookings Register

BROOKINGS – What does avant garde fashion have to do with building homes?

Everything, when you’re talking about Studs, Struts and Stilettos, a first-time event organized by Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity.

The fashion show is set for March 24, and that’s so local designers have time to dream up and submit their own creations.

This isn’t your average fashion show; oh no. The most important rule is that at least 50 percent of the outfit’s design has to be made from construction materials, said Dan McColley, executive director of the local Habitat, and Jana Krogmann, director of affiliate operations.

“Instead of working with silk and crinoline, you’re working with landscaping fabric and window screen,” McColley said.

They hope the event is fun, educates people about Habitat, inspires them to help, and raises funds for the work they do.

“For me, as executive director, it’s always about trying to engage a new population in the work that we do, and do what we can to solve the affordable housing crisis,” McColley said. “So now, we’ve found a way to engage a population that we haven’t been able to reach before, the creative fashion design types.”


McColley and Krogmann got the idea from the show run by the Rochester (Minnesota) Home Builders for the Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity.

They saw things you’d never see on a Paris or New York runway.

“There was a jacket that was made out of all different colors of electrical wire. It was gorgeous,” Krogmann gushed.

Sewing skills are not necessarily required.

“Some of the materials, quite frankly, don’t sew,” McColley said. “Some of the outfits were made out of electrical wire, those were woven and glued together. One of the outfits we saw, a part of the skirt was cedar shingles. I don’t know how they put that together.”

Imagination is the most important skill.

“There really is no limit,” McColley said. “Construction material is a broad category. Half the visible elements have to be construction material, so you can put it on a more traditional base to make it more wearable. Because the materials act differently, the designers can do different things … Some of the outfits that we’ve seen before are kind of outlandish and crazy and some are, ‘Yea, they could wear that.’”

Work ahead

The event is set for March 24 at the Old Sanctuary, but McColley and Krogmann are calling on all budding designers to dream up their best outfits now and to keep the theme of “mirrored” in mind as they do so.

Contestants should obtain the forms for Design Entry and Design Information and fill them out. They need to provide their own model, but hairdressing and makeup will be provided by Habitat.

Each designer will have a three- to four-minute interview with the judges prior to the show. Take pictures throughout the design process; contestants will need a minimum of 10 photos to submit. There is a $25 entry fee.

Registrations must be submitted by Jan. 19. Sketches, etc., must be submitted by Feb. 8. There are only 24 slots in the show; if more designs are submitted, the top 24 will be selected to strut down the runway, so the competition could be tight.

Having too many entrants will be a nice problem, McColley said. His biggest fear is being caught short.

“We don’t have an event if we don’t have designs,” he said. “We want to get those locked down as quickly as we can.”

For forms, visit brookingshabitat.org and click on Studs, Struts and Stilettos, then scroll down to the forms. For questions, contact Krogmann at 697-2540, [email protected] or visit 321 Ninth St. in Brookings.


The designers will put in a lot of work and McColley and Krogmann want them to have a chance to show off their style, so Studs, Struts and Stilettos will be a fundraising event with an elegant black-tie dinner for 200 at a cost of $50 per person. More details will be released at a later date about what will be served.

They are planning to have a silent auction, which is being coordinated by Habitat board member Chuck Bennis.

Habitat is looking for submissions for the auction as well as corporate sponsors at any level for the event.

Forms for sponsors are available on brookingshabitat.org; click on Studs, Struts and Stilettos and scroll down to the sponsors form. Amethyst Sponsors start at $750, and go up through Sapphire, $1,500; Ruby, $3,000; Emerald, $5,000; and Diamond at $7,500.

They are also looking for volunteers to help set up and break down the stage, set up tables, direct models up and down the runway, take tickets, park cars, and keep track of bids, to name a few things.

“Somebody wants to help us, we will find a way to do that,” promised McColley.

Bragging rights

Presentation of the outfits is important because local “celebrities” will be judging the contest and there are prizes up for grabs.

Judging the show will be Roxy Corbett, Ginger Thompson, Nick Wendell, Sara Lum and Steve Kirkey.

Prizes awarded will be Most Wearable, Best Use of Design Element (mirrors), Most Innovative Use of Construction Materials, Donors Choice and Best of Show.

“Donors Choice is my favorite because there will be an opportunity for donors to bid on outfits, and the outfit that raises the most money wins the Donor’s Choice award,” McColley said.

The winners will get a special trophy of a mirrored stiletto shoe to commemorate the night.

“‘Mirrored’ is our design element, and so when I saw these shoes, they fit that very well,” Krogmann said.

A tradition in the making

“The goal is to have fun … raise money and awareness,” McColley said.

He hopes to have many designers, sell out all the tickets and take Studs, Struts and Stilettos into the future as the premier event to attend with people writing it on their calendars months in advance, because it’s an important cause that impacts families.

“(Proceeds) will go to support the construction of new homes and the renovation of existing homes,” McColley said.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]

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