Key to it all

Courtesy photo: Above, designs entered in the 2019 Nail the Runway fashion show included, from left, Dr. Dan Duct Tape, modeled by Jacob Kappernman; Industrial Warrior, modeled by Hayley Olson; and Fantalaxy, modeled by Luke Bielfeldt and designed by Susanne Bielfeldt and Barbara Ann Hawley, and won Best Use of Design Element (spikes, screws and nails). Jodelle Greiner/Register: Below, the 2019 Nail the Runway trophy, left, and the 2018 trophy, right, are shown with the 2020 trophy that will be awarded at the March 21 fashion show.

Designs must be submitted by Jan. 6 for Nail the Runway; must include keys

BROOKINGS – Brookings’ premier fashion show – Nail the Runway – will be back for its third year March 21, 2020, but preparation is already underway with a call for outfit designs.

The design element this year will be keys, and they will be seen in a number of different places throughout the event.

People, especially volunteers and donors, are key to Habitat’s success, said Dan McColley and Jana Krogmann of Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity, which organizes the event.

But a key symbolizes so much more.

“Home is the key to so many things – a better life, stronger financial health, greater educational attainment,” said McColley, executive director and chief mission officer.

This show will be extra special because it coincides with Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity’s 25th anniversary. 

“Everything’s gonna be more sparkly,” said Krogmann, director of affiliate operations.

“It really is a significant milestone for us,” McColley said. “We just really hope that folks will come out and celebrate with us as we celebrate 25 years in Brookings.”

One aspect they want to grow is the silent auction so folks will have more items to bid on and they can raise more money.

All proceeds go to help Habitat build more homes for people who otherwise couldn’t afford them. Last year’s event raised more than $18,000 over expenses.

“That money goes directly into the construction or repair of somebody’s home. None of that money goes into the administration of the affiliate,” McColley said.


Deadline to submit sketches for consideration is Jan. 6, 2020, said McColley and Krogmann. The sketches will be considered by the committee, which will select the 25-30 that will appear in the show. Designers will be notified by Jan. 15 if their design is selected.

A list of the rules is available from Habitat, but one very important one is that at least 50% of the visible design must be made from construction materials. 

Some materials that were used in the 2019 winning designs included nails, fiberglass window screen, house wrap, shower liner, duct tape, landscape fabric, zip ties, vent screen, and electrical wire.

“The design element is keys this year. So every designer, in addition to using construction materials, will have to incorporate, in some way or another, … keys or a key into their design,” McColley said.

Designers may submit the sketch in whatever way they want, using paint, colored pencil, computer-generated, etc., but it does need to be an actual outfit. 

“As I joke with some designers, we can’t have a naked man carrying a 2x4 come down the runway,” McColley said. “It remains a family show.”

To better their chances, designers should include as many details as possible in the sketch; it will help the committee decide which ones will be selected.

Designs can be submitted any time.

“The fact that we were able to announce the design element at last year’s event, people were able to start thinking about how they could (plan) that,” McColley said.

That translates into some early bird designers.

“Right now, we have 12 confirmed designs (submitted),” McColley said. “Some (designers) are from last year; some are brand-new.”

Designers need to supply their own model to wear the outfit down the runway – it will probably show best if the outfit is designed to fit the specific model. If you need one or would like to be a model, contact Krogmann. Some designers need females, others need males.

Sketches may be e-mailed to Habitat; mailed to P.O. Box 412; Brookings, SD 57006; or dropped off at the office at 321 Ninth St. in Brookings (behind First Lutheran Church). There is a non-refundable entry fee of $25.

For more information, call Habitat at 697-2540, visit and click on Calendar, then Nail the Runway; or email [email protected] or [email protected] online.

No design experience required

This event is open to anyone and no design experience is necessary. Creativity and imagination are the most important ingredients, they said.

“Having some idea how to put an outfit together is important, but the ability to sew does not really factor into this much,” McColley said.

Knowing how to use a glue gun will probably come in handy, McColley said.

“Landscape fabric doesn’t sew,” McColley said. “House wrap doesn’t sew, it staples.”

Nail the Runway attracts all ages.

“Last year, we had girls who were in high school, all the way to (retired) women,” Krogmann said. “We had guys in the show and girls in the show.”

Designers can operate solo or can submit work in any combination.

“We have a number of people who work on their own. We have some people who work as pairs,” McColley said.

Teams can be trios or groups. Members of organizations can team up.

“We do have a family that is doing one,” Krogmann said.

No matter how many designers work on an outfit, only one will be allowed backstage, due to limited space for that many people.

One group that will be submitting designs are the students of Molly Wicks, instructor of studio art at South Dakota State University. 

“We usually reserve eight (spots for the design students),” McColley said, thanking Wicks for her willingness to make Nail the Runway part of her class’ work. “It’s just that the university’s schedule doesn’t match ours.”

Silent auction

Another aspect of the event McColley and Krogmann are promoting right now is the silent auction, for which they need a variety of items to attract the most bidders and money.

“We’re really hoping to have an enhanced silent auction table,” McColley said.

Contact Krogmann at Habitat if you’d like to donate.

Five trophies awarded

Five trophies will be awarded for the fashion show: Best in Show, Most Wearable, Best Use of Design Element (keys), Most Innovative Use of Construction Materials, and People’s Choice.

“The People’s Choice is not done by the judges,” Krogmann said.

“The design that raises the most money that night wins People’s Choice,” McColley said.

Winners will receive a trophy that has a “blinged out” shoe mounted on a base. The shoes are purchased two years in advance so there is time to prepare the trophies.

“This year, we went with silver because silver is the traditional 25th anniversary color,” McColley said.

Winners must agree to allow Habitat to use designs to promote future shows and might be put on display in the future.

“The Brookings Arts Council will display designs in their space after the event,” McColley said.


Purpose of mission

Although McColley and Krogmann hope Nail the Runway is a fun night for all, it has a serious mission.

“Really, the purpose of the event is to highlight the work that this organization and its volunteers do every day and the transformational effect on families when they live in a home that they own and that they can afford,” McColley said.

“We need to continually highlight the need for affordable housing,” he added.

“And this way, it’s fun to do it,” Krogmann said.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]


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