Floor-length gowns, short frocks and old bridesmaids dresses — between 30 and 40 of them — sit inside a Bloomington High School South classroom.
BHSS group Students Advocating for a Greener Environment, also known as S.A.G.E., has been collecting used prom wear in the name of sustainability.
“Most people when they go to prom, they buy a $200 or $300 prom dress, wear it once and never wear it again,” senior S.A.G.E. member Jessie Menefee said.
The whole idea of the initiative, Menefee said, is to create a more eco-friendly prom.
S.A.G.E. President Katie Head, a high school senior, said like many of her classmates, she grew up in Bloomington, which she described as a fairly progressive city.
The high school’s students know what recycling is, she said, but Project Green Prom allows them to take it further by “introducing sustainability in a chic way.”
Head started S.A.G.E. during her freshman year after realizing a lack of environmental groups at the school left a void. Last year marked Project Green Prom’s first prom dress collection.
“Before, I never thought of fashion as being sustainable,” said Head, a self-proclaimed lover of fashion.
To her junior prom, Menefee wore a black velvet dress with gold sequins on the bodice, a gown she found during last year’s Project Green Prom. This year, she re-donated the dress in hopes another girl can wear it.
She said she hopes to find another recycled dress to wear to her senior prom.
Dress collection will continue during school hours until March 8, culminating in a prom dress fashion show at 10 a.m. March 18. Those interested in donating dresses or prom accessories can do so in-person at BHSS’ main office or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for students to pick up the items.
After the fashion show, S.A.G.E. will sell the dresses that will range in price from free to $10 to students looking for a wallet-friendly alternative to retail-priced dresses, freshman S.A.G.E. member Victoria Fosha said.
Fosha has been helping Head organize the event in preparation to take over the planning after Head graduates. Fosha said she is pleased so far with the number of donations S.A.G.E. has received, and she hopes next year’s event will be as
“[The event] brings everyone together,” Fosha said. “And it’s just fun.”
During last year’s Project Green Prom, students collected about 70 dresses, many of which were sold to students and made an appearance at the school’s prom last spring.
“It was super cool to see the recycled dresses,” Head said. “We started it to be a sustainability thing, but it ended up reaching a variety of students.”