Third annual White Dress Project sale underway

White Dress Project’s sale of graduation dresses for charity takes place March 18

Darcie Kim

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This March 18 will mark the third year of the White Dress Project, a recent tradition that gives students the opportunity to purchase gently-worn graduation dresses in order to relieve the financial burden of buying an expensive gown for graduation.

This year the sale will be in the EPI Center from 10:00 am-1:00 pm.

This project was started by sisters Jordan and Isabelle Machlin in 2014 when Jordan was shopping for her own graduation dress.

Machlin realized that some girls, even in a predominantly wealthy district, could still struggle to find an affordable, yet beautiful dress for graduation.

Currently, the three senior co-heads are Ally Bailey, Camryn Wilneff, and Jenna Bloom. Though the event is usually held within the third quarter, the project is a year-long commitment.

“There are definitely high and low seasons depending on the date of the sale and graduation. We really get in crunch time at the beginning of the school year, and it amps up a little bit more in January,” said Bailey.

Currently, the  White Dress team is preparing for the upcoming sale.

“Once we finalize the date of the sale, it’s really more about advertising and getting the word out so people know what the project is and how they can get dresses,” says Wilneff.

The dresses are brought to Zengeler Cleaners in Hubbard Woods where they are dry cleaned, wrapped, and hung free of charge. Girls who have dresses they wish to donate are free to drop them off at any point in the year.

While the dresses received are of high quality and value, the White Dress Project sells them for a maximum of $75. The lower prices are around $35-50, but all of the dresses are in good condition.

“I would say the majority of the dresses are in the $75 range because the dresses are all wearable and in great condition. If they’re in poor condition we just don’t use it or try to sell it. We get dresses of all sizes and styles each year, and they all fit the criteria for graduation,” said Bloom.

Last year  37 of  the 59 donated dresses were sold, and the project raised $2,500.

Every year, the proceeds from the sale go towards a charity of the co-heads’ choice. This year, the money will go to Save the Children, a charity dedicated to giving less fortunate children basic  educational needs, such as school supplies.

“I think they chose this organization because it provides needs for education to kids in the Chicagoland area, so it has a lot of local impact,” said senior adviser chair Susie Paunan.

While organizing the project this year has had minimal problems, the co-heads are currently looking for students who are willing to continue the project in future years with dedication and purpose.

“Right now it’s just us three, but next year we’re looking for any incoming sophomores, juniors, or seniors to take over the project. It’s a great service project,” said Bloom.

The email address for The White Dress Project is [email protected]

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