AP NEWS

Cleveland dress extravaganza brightens prom for area girls

April 1, 2019

The 5th Annual Dress Extravaganza by the 27 Dresses Project created several smiles from area teenagers.

Young girls from the area got a chance to pick out possible prom dresses on March 29-30 at Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church in Cleveland.

Tarkington natives Emily Cook and Hannah Taylor, who founded the event, were excited to make area girls happy.

“We were really excited,” said the 29-year old Cook. “I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep the night before. We got all the dresses in and made sure that they were all prepared for the customers. We had a lot of people donate dresses this year, and we’re ready to make some girls happy with a dress.

All dresses are $50 or less, and all proceeds benefit scholarships for local seniors or lead to contributions to local nonprofits.

Taylor said Cook’s love of dresses led to the idea.

“Emily just loved pretty dresses,” said the 29-year old Taylor. “She thought every girl should be able to have a beautiful dress on prom and feel like a princess no matter their budget.”

Several donations were made and people dropped off dresses at Texan Mattress in Cleveland and Once Loved in Liberty.

Bella Bridesmaids in Cypress has made donations as well.

Taylor even had a cousin in New York send dresses down. Dresses came from Austin, Wimberly, San Marcos and many more cities in the state of Texas.

“Everyone has a dress in their closet that they don’t need anymore,” Taylor said. “We had people call us and tell us that they had dresses and wanted to send them. We’re very thankful that people were able to donate dresses. Sometimes dresses can sit in a closet for a while.”

It’s what the Dress Project is all about, giving the girls an opportunity to live out a dream with a dress.

The dress project really serves to bring different aspects of our community together,” Cook said. “Those who donate a gown, volunteers from all stages of life, businesses who help advertise and shoppers who help fund scholarships when they choose us. That’s the sentiment we’re probably most proud of creating a circle of giving.”

The 27 Dress Project wants to make sure the Dress Extravaganza continue every year.

It will only get bigger.

“We spent a lot of time advertising on social media and newspapers this year,” Cook said. “We really reached a lot of people this year too. These girls who are buying dresses now are going to tell their friends and everyone else is going to know. When people tell other people in the community it’s only going to get bigger. We want to continue for years to come and grow for sure. Every girl deserves to have a dress for her special night.”

marcus.gutierrez@chron.com