Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Free dresses for prom

No one should miss prom because they can't afford it.

That's the mentality behind Kiss 95.1 Presents Drex & Maney's Gown Town this Saturday. Your old cocktail, evening, bridesmaid or prom dress can help ensure high school girls in the area - who otherwise might not be able to afford it - have something fabulous to wear this prom season. For free.

Gown Town is first-come, first-serve, so there's usually a line of girls waiting to get in.
Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

Morning show hosts Drex, Maney and their cohort, Cassiday, said it’s the 15th year the station has hosted Gown Town, but the third that it's been under their purvey.

They’ve been surprised and pleased with how many dresses have been donated in about three weeks, especially from the gown-getter bins placed at local school. "I think we went from zero to 400 in a week," Drex said.

Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

Seeing the mother/daughter duos shopping for the perfect dress at previous Gown Town events is something Cassiday said she personally relates to, having had the same experience with her own mom.

“I saw the same excitement with moms and daughters and their friends, of ‘This is the one,’” she said.

“Every girl wants to go to prom.”

Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

But how do two guys feel about herding all those dresses? Pretty awesome, in fact.

“It’s been fun to see people call in, who are so excited to give,” Drex said. “Bob, yes, Bob, in Lincolnton called and said he had 48 dresses.”

“Everybody deserves the prom experience,” Maney said. “No one should sit at home.”

In the past, between 1,000 and 3,000 dresses have been donated each year. Average attendance at Gown Town is between 400 and 700 girls, and more than half find a dress to take home.

(What about the rest? Some are donated to charity, but the majority go into storage for next year, Drex said.)

More than 1,000 dresses in all sizes will be at Saturday’s Gown Town, which will be first-come, first-serve from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the store space between the Body Shop and Dick’s Sporting Goods on the second level of Northlake Mall, 6801 Northlake Mall Dr.

“I can’t wait to see all the people lined up,” Drex said.

Dresses are grouped by sizes and dressing rooms are available so girls can try them on. “We make it really easy for them,” Cassiday said. “It’s more than just a dress, we’re creating the experience.”

The hosts will be on hand playing music, shoes and accessories will also be available and the only thing missing will be the cash register, Maney said.

“Because it’s free. Everything is 100 percent off.”

Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1

While the event isn’t only for those with a limited income – any high school girl is welcome, Maney said – they’ve tried to make sure every guidance counselor in the six surrounding counties got the info about Gown Town.

“It’s cool the counselors are so in tune with knowing who (could benefit,)” Cassiday said. “There’s no shame in it. We make it like a real store experience. We don’t want anyone to feel embarrassed.”

The morning crew hopes to get a photo album online after the weekend, so listeners can see if their former frocks have found new life, Maney said.

Technically, dresses were only being accepted at area locations through the end of the day Wednesday. "But we would never turn down a dress,” Cassiday said.

Cassiday finds treasure to try on at a previous Gown Town.
Photo courtesy of Kiss 95.1 

So those with special occasion dresses in their closets have till the end of business on Friday to bring them by the CBS Radio studios in SouthEnd.

More than anything, Drex said, it’s about area women helping girls make a memorable experience. “It’s great to see that empathy for a listener they’ll never meet.”


Anonymous said...

No, not everyone should be able to go to prom. I am glad that the morning show is doing this. It is great that kids get the opportunity to get that dress that will let them go and feel special. However, this is a privilege that some get.

I was a geeky high school student that had to work 2 jobs in high school. I asked 3 people to go and all said no. Then my boss scheduled me to work both times we had prom. So I never got to go. Such is life. You get over it! Life is NOT fair and some should realize it.

weiwen zeng said...
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