LSU fashion students give back

Design prom dresses for local high school girls in need

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 3:38pm

BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — From out-dated to date-ready, these dresses are part of an LSU project that combines creativity with community service.

Dreaming up the perfect prom dress is a tough job, but that's what LSU fashion students were asked to do this semester. Senior Martha Landry says she had lot of things to think about while trying to come up with a good idea. "What would be fun to wear to a dance? What would catch people's attention?"

The goal of the project was to create an outfit for the big night. But there was a catch. The students had to use material from old dresses. "We're taking dresses that would otherwise be thrown into a landfill," says Professor Lisa McRoberts.

"There was a big pile of dresses and it was like swimming because you just had to jump in and dig," says Landry. She says it's all about finding the right inspiration for a unique look. "You're like, 'wow! That is a really cute dress. Hmm, what part of it do I actually want to use?' or 'this is a really ugly dress, but it has this awesome fabric that I can totally put with this other fabric.'"

Landry decided on four different dresses, using everything from puffy 80s-style sleeves to a bubblegum pink fabric, to make her version of the perfect prom dress.

Other students say the tough part was finding a fabric that fit the look they were going for. "It was kind of a challenge to be given things that you need instead of being able to go to a fabric store and picking out whatever you need for the dress," says senior Maiya Guidry.

For Guidry, however, coming up with a sketch was the easy part. "I still kind of think back to that 18-year-old age and I really remember my prom, and I really enjoyed it, so I just kind of put myself back in that mindset."

Students spent weeks turning drab into fab. "Some of them actually dyed fabrics," says McRoberts. "Some of them had to take apart a dress and start over, some of them found the bases of a dress and then created something new."

McRoberts says she's proud of the dresses her students created. "I think the students are brilliant," she says.

The dresses won't just be on the runway. Instead, they'll end up at a giveaway. "This is going to mean so much more to that girl than it could ever mean to me," says Guidry.

Her dress, and the dresses made by her 25 other classmates, will be chosen by underpriviledged girls all over the community this weekend. "I'm excited to make a change in someone's life," she says.

It's a special experience for all the students, hoping they can give high schools a shot at the perfect prom. "I really hope that it strikes with one person and that they're able to take and have the most fun that they can it it and feel really good about themselves," says Landry.

Girls can get their hands on the dresses created by the fashion students on Saturday April 2 from 2-5. Their giveaway is part of a larger event going on all weekend called the Cinderella Project. If you need a dress for prom, check out the dates and times below.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 2
12 noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 3
A.C. Lewis Branch of the YMCA
350 S. Foster at Government Street in Baton Rouge

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