PRAIRIE GROVE – A Prairie Grove high schooler thought her prom dress made from the pages of two Harry Potter books would turn heads, but she didn’t expect it to “explode” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“The audience was so supportive and loving, but it was so unexpected,” said Hailey Skoch, who graduated high school on Saturday and is heading to the University of Arkansas in the fall.
Skoch, like many Prairie Grove students heading to their annual spring prom, showed up at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park on April 23 for the traditional pre-prom photos with friends and classmates. .
It didn’t take long before many college students and mums wanted to snap her in the Harry Potter robe. From there, the photos went viral and were shared across the internet thousands of times.
Skoch said she believes a photo Kara Ault shared with Macaroni Kid and a photo Magnolia Coffee shared in Prairie Grove are the ones that got the ball rolling. Since the ball, Skoch has been interviewed by local media, regional media and even national media.
Her dress is made of a cotton-polyester fabric with pages from the sixth and seventh books in the Harry Potter series, a series she said was her escape after her parents divorced. .
She guesses her prom dress has at least 1,400 pages of the books, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, either glued, stapled or sewn into place.
Skoch said the idea for her dress came from a music video on Tik Tok when she saw a homecoming dress made out of newspapers.
She knew then that she wanted to use the pages of a book and decided that Harry Potter was the perfect choice because the books meant so much to her. She wanted to wear something unconventional for her prom and do something self-expressive.
Skoch bought two used Harry Potter books at the Dickson Street bookstore in Fayetteville, and she and her mother, Valerie Skoch, went to work for four days, while rewatching the Harry Potter movies. Her mother, who made suits and other specialty dresses, was in charge of the tailoring. Skoch was the creative mind behind the outfit.
“My mom was really great at making it a working idea,” Skoch said.
The debut of the dress actually took place before the 2022 Prairie Grove prom. Skoch wore it one March weekend at the Wizarding Way of the Ozarks. She got a lot of publicity this weekend, but that has nothing to do with what happened at Battlefield State Park.
“I walked in and it turned a lot of heads,” she said.
Skoch described wearing the dress as a type of therapy for her.
“It was something that reflected me in the past, transitioning into the future,” she said. “Harry Potter is this great inspiring story about love, magic and the ordinary. It’s about finding hope in dark times. Finding balance and good versus evil. Love it .”
Skoch said she can also see where the dress could be a reflection of one of her favorite characters from the show, Hermione Granger.
“Everyone calls her (Hermione) a know-it-all. She’s a fierce, passionate person,” Skoch said.
In the fourth Harry Potter book, Hermione goes to the Yule Ball wearing a layered look dress. Skoch’s dress has that vented, layered look.
Skoch said it was also important to her that the dress look like a prom dress. Her dress made of fan-folded Harry Potter pages has a cinched bodice and a train of Harry Potter pages flowing to the floor, trailing behind her.
“I wasn’t about to make a prom dress out of duct tape. Absolutely not,” she said.
Unsurprisingly, Skoch has already received requests to wear the dress to different events, including modeling gigs, photo shoots, and recycling events. She even got an offer from someone interested in buying the dress.
“This one stays with me,” she said, though she agreed to have it displayed this summer at the Prairie Grove Public Library for its summer reading program.
Until her freshman year in high school, Skoch said she was a shy person, lacking in self-esteem, always trying to find her way in life. In recent years, she has stepped out of that comfort zone. She performed on stage, playing Lumière for the school’s musical performance Beauty and the Beast. She is a commissioned portrait artist and has exhibited artwork at the Walton Arts Center.
Creating the Harry Potter robe and wearing it in public was another step along the way, she said.
“It was magical and a complete honor to be able to express myself and my love of art with such passion,” she said. “The response has been so gratifying and an affirmation of being myself.”
Skoch plans to attend the University of Arkansas on a scholarship from the Fulbright School of Arts and Science to study psychology. She sees that now a minor in art might be another possibility.
As for the prom itself, which was held in the common area of Prairie Grove High School, Skoch said she didn’t wear the dress all night. She changed into a second dress so she could “do some moves” and have fun with her friends on the dance floor.