Organizers of the 27 Dresses Project are gearing up to host this year's event, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary at Cleveland High School on Saturday, April 15.
"It's pretty surreal that we've been doing this for 15 years," said Hannah Taylor, who founded the organization alongside co-founder Emily Kebodeaux Cook.
Both Taylor and Cook are graduates of Tarkington High School, who began the organization in an effort to provide local families with high-school-aged daughters, as well as local residents looking to purchase dresses for special occasions, the opportunity to purchase gowns and dresses at an affordable price.
Cook and Taylor started the 27 Dresses Project, now a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, as a fundraiser while in college, and both marvel at how far the organization has come. Both founders have worked diligently to provide the magic of events, such as prom, to locals at reasonable costs, helping to alleviate the stress and financial pressure often associated with purchasing formal wear.
Each year, the event offers a vast collection of high-quality formal wear, cocktail dresses, and even some bridal gowns, all suitable for a wide variety of events. Assorted bridesmaid dresses are also available in a variety of colors and styles.
"We know there's often a stigma that comes with wearing a used dress, but we hope that the younger generations can take pride in utilizing these dresses," said Taylor, adding that utilizing the used formal wear is also a more sustainable option than buying new. "It's not something to be embarrassed about and we really think it's something to be proud of. There are so many beautiful dresses and we want to make everyone feel special."
Taylor went on to commend the staff at Cleveland High School for their involvement in organizing and preparing to host this year's event, as well as striving to make prom more accessible to their students. Many teachers and staff members also donated dresses for the event.
"The teachers really want all of their students to get their dresses affordably and they're very dedicated to that," said Taylor. "They've been very involved and very helpful."
All proceeds from the event go toward next year's event and provide scholarships to students at local high schools, including Cleveland, Splendora, Shepherd and Tarkington.
The event will be held at Cleveland High School on Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information or to apply for a scholarship, visit the 27 Dresses Project Facebook page or 27dressesproject.com.