Seniors ‘say yes to the dress’ at Lane’s free prom pop-up shop


Katie Ratke

Lane student Aylee Salazar searching for a prom dress in the free pop-up shop on April 22.

By Katie Ratke, Reporter

Shopping for a prom dress can be quite overwhelming — from choosing the right color, style, size — all while trying to make sure it fits in your budget. For Lane students struggling to find a prom dress last month, they had to look no further than Room 212, in counselor Gabriela Escobar’s office.

Lane Tech hosted a free prom dress pop-up shop on April 22-23, with just under a month left before prom. According to Escobar, it is the first ever prom pop-up shop.

The event was planned by Escobar, who brought up the idea to Lane Assistant Principal Sarah Hanly in late March. She made her idea a reality by asking for donations from teachers, as well as donations from the Lane Alumni Association, which supplied a majority of the dresses, shoes and other accessories from their closets.

Unfortunately, the amount of formal men’s attire donated was not sufficient enough to include in the pop-up. 

“There was a ton of stuff that was donated for men, but it was business casual — it really wasn’t appropriate for prom, so that’s getting donated to a different organization,” Escobar said.

The overall turnout for the event was much greater than anticipated.

 “It was planned quickly, the communication was sent out Wednesday and we had our pop-up shop on Thursday, but we did have a little over 20 people make appointments,” Escobar said. 

The event was planned so that students could decide whether they wanted to come in to shop as a group or have an individual appointment. 

“I set it up so that we had 20-minute appointments because I wanted kids to come and shop and have their own private and personal experience¨

Given that there was no school on April 22nd, the first day of the pop-up, many people wanted to reschedule their appointments.

“If people were trying to reschedule I would ask them if they would be interested in partnering up with someone and shopping, because some people like to shop with someone.” Escobar said. 

Most people who attended the pop-up were successful in finding a dress they loved.

 “We had a little over 20 students come, but not everyone took a dress. We gave away 16 dresses yesterday and then today we’ve had probably about eight kids so far,” Escobar said. 

Even the students who had doubts about finding a dress walked away happy. 

“The first kid that came, she was like ‘Oh I don’t know if I’m going to find something,’ and she did! She loved it and I was like, ‘Yes! She said yes to the dress!’ I know it’s not what you’d say for a prom dress, but she was so happy,” Escobar said. 

Apart from having a variety of styles, the shop also had a generous amount of sizes. 

“I thought that they would all fall within the small/medium/large range, but I did have some larger sizes, and so that made me feel good because I’m always concerned about making sure that people feel represented and making sure they have something.” Escobar said. 

Some students even found ways to utilize their creative side to upcycle and fix up the donated dresses. 

“There was another dress — it was a white dress and it was stained — and this one kid, I told her if you’re creative, you can dye it, you can try bleaching it, and so we talked about it and she’s like, ‘This is my dress, and if I can’t get the stain out I’m gonna make it my dress.’”

Given the success of this year’s pop-up, Escobar has already started thinking about planning the event for next year. 

“I see it in my head, and I feel like for next year it could be so much bigger and better, so I’m really excited to plan that, and I will definitely start that earlier in the year,” Escobar said. 

Senior Aylee Salazar, Div. 276, visited the shop with friends on Friday.

“I found a dress but it wasn’t in my size and it was too long, so I found one but it didn’t work out, but I did find a bracelet that I liked.¨ Salazar said.

She said she would highly recommend juniors to check out the pop-up shop next year.

“It was cute, it was fun,” Salazar said. 

The event ended up gaining the attention of many local news networks such as CBS, NBC, WGN and Univision. 

Escobar described the publicity of the event as exciting.

“I feel like we do so much in our building that obviously doesn’t need to be recognized outside of the building, but when it is, I feel like it is great because I would hope that it inspires other schools to venture out and maybe do something like this,” Escobar said.

  Similar to past donation drives at Lane, the goal of the prom pop-up was to offer options to make every student feel included. 

“I feel like we are doing a lot of work to just offer different events to our kids, like the coat drive, or the prom dress drive, and then the food pantry — that’s all for our kids,” Escobar said.  “It doesn’t matter who they are or what their situations are — it’s for everyone.”