I wore a short black Betsey Johnson dress to my prom. It had several light pink applique flowers sewn on to it, spaghetti straps, gathered at my waist and fell a few inches above my knee. I wore a single strain of pearls around my neck and pearl stud earrings in my ears to match. I brushed my blunt cut straight hair until it looked nice and even, applied a little light pink lip gloss to my lips and my date awkwardly placed a light pink corsage on my wrist. That was it. Pretty simple. I even wore my prom dress again a few times in college to fraternity formals and the like.
Prom dresses today are a completely different situation. They are more red carpet at the Oscars and less enchantment under the sea dance in the high school gym. Most of them are floor length. Many have beautiful and intricate details incorporated throughout. Some have cut outs and others long slits. Please do not judge me for sounding judgy because I am so not judging. I am in awe of these beautiful prom going girls who look way more put together than I looked back when I was 17 and probably will ever look in my entire life.
I love seeing the prom pictures on social media. I was so impressed at how different each girl looks from the other. No one dress is even remotely similar to another one. But then I learned about the Facebook prom dress groups that a lot of high schools put out there to make sure that no two girls wear the same dress at one prom. I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg ever saw that platform in his company’s future when he was working on building the social network in his college dorm room?! Not sure. Whatever the case, these girls have got it all going on.
One prom going girl in particular has maybe more than that going on. I am talking about Dani Lutz, a 16-year-old girl from Birmingham Michigan, who full disclosure is the daughter of a friend of mine, and who is giving back in a real and purposeful way to her surrounding community and beyond — in a way that was not even remotely on my radar back in the days of the short black Betsey Johnson prom dress.
Dani, who is a junior at South Groves High School in Southfield Michigan launched her own nonprofit called reWEARable this past year. Dani understands implicitly that “one dress makes a difference” and through a team of volunteers (her mother Beth Lutz included) has collected over 800 new and gently used dresses plus shoes and accessories for girls who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them to go to their proms.
Dani stands by her organization’s mission to boast confidence and make each girl’s dream of going to prom come true. She has even partnered with Detroit public schools to make sure girls who want a dress for prom will have a dress for prom.
Since launching reWEARable, Dani has been flooded with donated dresses dropped off at her front door and at collection spots throughout the Detroit area. She and her team gave away nearly 500 dresses all for free at The Detroit School of Arts this spring. And for next prom season, Dani is thinking even bigger hoping to branch out to more areas around the country noting that in fact some of her contributions this year came from New York, Chicago Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
I am so impressed with Dani and her generation of prom-going kids. I know that I sound about 800 years old when I say this, but I could not see beyond the short length of my Betsey Johnson dress and the high school bubble I lived in when I was Dani’s age. Learning about Dani and her team at reWEARable giving back in such a meaningful way one dress at a time, fills me with so much hope, pride and excitement for this next generation of kids. For more info check out reWEARable at http://www.rewearable.net