Teens Lara Ford and Cole Sudduth aren't running for public office, but they need votes from their city and Gilbert Public Schools right now for what they consider an even bigger prize at this stage of their lives.
And it all has to do with duct tape and what Ford calls "Hollywood Red Carpet" couture.
The two 2012 graduates of Desert Ridge High, a GPS school located in east Mesa, are among the 10 finalist couples competing in the Stuck at Prom 2012 national contest run by ShurTech Brands, LLC, of Ohio, the makers of Duck brand duct tape.
Ford, 17, and Sudduth, 18, who have been friends since childhood, spent nearly nine months creating formal attire out of four colors of duct tape, mostly black and purple. They wore their creations -- his a tuxedo, carefully decorated and covered with duct tape, hers a dress made entirely out of it -- to their prom and then entered the contest for a chance to win $5,000 each, and another $5,000 for Desert Ridge.
The Mesa teens urging people to go to www.duckbrand.com every day until July 11 in the hopes of racking up the most votes for the prizes.
"We need every one to vote every day," said Ford, whose dress included an intricate lace pattern with seven different floral and scroll designs and hundreds of duct-tape flowers that make it look like it was made from cloth.
In all, the two used 18 rolls of duct tape to create outfits that they feel "became a work of art" reflecting "vintage romance meets red carpet fashion," they said on the Duck Tape website.
Even their shoes, boutonniere and wrist corsage flash strong touches of duct tape in the form of black-tipped roses. Ford's neck chain, medallion and earrings also are made of duct tape.
Ford said the toughest part of the project was cutting out the intricate decorations that cover their outfits.
But their creations were worth the work. "I don't think there was a moment when someone didn't come up to us and tell us how amazing we looked," Ford said.
Both teens, who plan to study for medical careers, share a passion for fashion and music. Both played violin in the Desert Ridge orchestra.
And their creations will be preserved for posterity when the contest is over: "We have to send them to the Duck Museum," Ford said.