Today, mermaids are best known as beloved figures like kind-hearted Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. But mermaids of lore weren’t friendly and kind, they were feared by sailors who believed that mermaids would either drown the crew after charming them or just make the ship crash by creating rough seas.
Evergreen Media decided to bring the mermaid superstition to life for Rapid City’s Raw Couture fashion show! Their two piece costume featured a top made out of a broken computer keyboard and a skirt made from paper; each of these materials are used in the day-to-day operations at Evergreen Media.
Meghan Rose, Production Coordinator at Evergreen Media who spearheaded the costume design, sat down to discuss the making of their nautical costume.
Q: Why did you choose mermaids?
A: The superstitions behind mermaids are very diverse- there are more than one kind of mermaid in fiction. There are malevolent mermaids who led sailors to their deaths or helpful mermaids who saved drowning people. It is just an interesting superstition that we thought would be fun to bring to life.
Q: What materials did you use?
A: We’re a publishing firm, so we wanted to use paper for a majority of the costume. We used paper to make the skirt and then we tried to extend our use of materials. We started thinking ‘what else do we use here in the office?’ Although we are a publishing company, our editors do a lot of writing, so we decided to use pencils and keyboards. We demolished a keyboard to add another element besides paper.
Q: What was the process of making the costume?
A: It was a lot of trial and error. Everyone brainstormed ideas then we came together to pick which ones we could execute the best. Once we decided, it was a lot of playing around. Like, we had to figure out which glue would adhere best to fabric or ribbon. Or how to make the paper have movement so it wasn’t as stiff. In the end, the stiffness of the paper was one of our biggest challenges. Once we started adhering the final touches, that really pulled everything together.
Q: What was it like to see the show come together?
A: A lot of work went into Raw Couture. The days leading up to the show were long, a lot of early mornings and late nights. I have only heard good things about it. It’s not like a silent auction fundraiser where everyone walks around in their sweater vests; it’s more of a fun social outing where people can dance, have fun, and hoot and holler. This was the first show, so it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves over the years.
Q: Do you have any costume making tips for 2018?
A: You have to do a lot of trial and error. Even if you don’t think something will work, just try it. Step out of the norm, so you’ll get crazy results. Make sure to choose materials that represent what your business does. This can be difficult for some industries, but the challenge is what makes it worth it in the end!