Former De Soto woman starts prom dress recycling effort
Prom might be memorable, but Heather Noble thinks it can also be wasteful when times are tough.
“It is so silly to have all these gorgeous $100 to $200 dresses just sitting in someone’s closet,” Noble said. “We need to recycle, reuse, repurpose and get away from the thought that we always need to have something new.”
To bring a bit of frugality to the annual spring rite, Noble, who grew up in De Soto, will have a prom dress exchange at 9 a.m. March 28 at the Broers Flower Shop she owns at 729 Main St., in downtown Eudora.
Noble isn’t the only one thinking along those lines. The Roger Hill Volunteer Center in Lawrence will be host to a prom dress drive and fashion show of used prom dresses at 1 p.m. April 11 at the Lawrence Community Building, 115 W. 11th St.
Noble came up with the idea for her event after realizing she spent hundreds of dollars on a dress her daughter wore for only about three hours.
Noble requests that people donate prom dresses of all shapes and sizes. Then, they can decide whether the dress will be given away, rented or sold. All dresses should be cleaned before they’re dropped off, and dresses that are sold should be priced at no more than $50.
All dresses to be borrowed must be dry cleaned and returned within a week.
Tutu Cowgirl in Tonganoxie, which sells a variety of women’s clothing and accessories, is another option for youths interested in purchasing used prom dresses.
The store, at 414 E. Fourth St., sells the dresses on a consignment basis and currently has about 20 dresses in stock.
Noble also hopes that the exchange could make attending the prom possible for girls who otherwise wouldn’t have considered going.
Tracie Howell, director of the Roger Hill Volunteer Center in Lawrence, said the same sentiment inspired the center’s prom dress drive and fashion show.
“One thing that we’ve considered is that some girls might have never considered going to prom because they either couldn’t afford or weren’t able to acquire a dress,” Howell said. “So, we’re hoping to offer them that opportunity this year so that they might consider going and enjoying their time in high school without feeling left out.”
Howell also requested that all dresses be dry cleaned prior to donation. The center has about 20 dresses, but Howell’s goal is to get about 200 dresses by April 7. The center has contacted Kansas University and Baker University sororities for donations.
The center’s prom dress drive will begin with a short fashion show, after which about 15 girls at a time will be allowed to look at dresses.
Howell also is looking into offering prizes at the event such as shoes, accessories, hair styling and dinners. The center is working with Weaver’s Department Store, 901 Mass., and will try to secure donations from other businesses and organizations in Lawrence.
— Tonganoxie reporter Shawn Linenberger contributed to this report.