Orchard LakeJuly 19, 2012
Fashion designer’s TP dress makes her flush with cash
By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer
Aspiring fashion designer Susan Brennan is on a roll — a two-time winner in mastering the two-ply.
For the second year in a row, Brennan, of Orchard Lake, won the Cheap-Chic- Weddings.com Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest — becoming the first person to ever win the competition twice. She received her latest victory and its prize — $2,012 — in New York June 27.
Brennan, 26, is a Michigan State University graduate specializing in apparel and textile design. Since her winning dress from last year sported a classical flair, this year she aimed for something more modern.
“I knew I had to make it better than last year,” she said. “I have to show them something even more amazing with toilet paper. I tried to put something really current into the dress. I used cutouts … and I made a high-low hem.”
In order to qualify for the contest, Brennan had to design and handcraft a bridal gown by using bathroom tissue, glue, tape, a needle and thread. Brennan used rolls of Charmin Jumbo Ultra-Soft to make the dress over a week’s time, with the help of a couple of all-nighters.
“I didn’t get much sleep during that week,” she said. “Sometimes when you’re working on an art project, you just get in the zone and keep working.”
After finishing the dress and photographing it, Brennan said she was picked once again as a top 10 finalist out of more than 700 entries. Then, she shipped her dress to Florida by mail, where it was judged by the contest organizers.
The top three finalists, including Brennan, had their dresses judged at Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Times Square. Online smartphone voting played a role in deciding the winner, and Brennan said she got 44 percent out of the top three finalists.
“That was a new feature this year, to get the public more involved,” she said. “They were joking that it was like American Idol.”
The contest was hosted by Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com, a website that encourages couples to consider more affordable ceremonies at prices ranging from $1,000-$5,000.
The company judged the more than 700 entries on how they used the toilet paper, as well as their beauty, creativity and originality. In a statement, website co-owner Susan Bain praised Brennan’s dress for being “very current.”
“It looks like a lot of the dresses in the bridal shops we were in,” she said. “It was very beautiful in person. It really shines over everyone else’s.”
After receiving her prize in New York, Brennan flew back to the city a few days later to appear on NBC’s “Today” show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
“(The theme) was all about love, so they talked about the wedding dress, and they were very supportive,” Brennan said. “It was very fun. They seemed to be quite impressed about it.”
Following her win, Brennan said she hopes to get a fashion design job. If that doesn’t happen, she plans on making her own business on the Etsy website.
To learn more about Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com and its contest, visit www.cheap-chic-weddings.com.
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