Winfree Bryant Middle School is once again taking steps to make sure girls at the school learn a lesson – a lesson in fashion, economics and style. The school is gearing up to hold its "Second Hand Chic" fashion show, featuring student models.
The fashions are from Goodwill, and the lesson is that style and feeling good about how one looks doesn't always mean spending a lot of money. Last week, the school helped 36 sixth- through eighth-graders find a couple of new outfits to model in a fashion show. While looking good is important, especially to middle school-age girls, the show is also designed to help them understand fashion is not always a question of money, and they can develop a winning style without winning the lottery.
"Last year we started planning the first annual event in order to foster good economic practices but most importantly to bring together girls with different backgrounds and resources to show them all that dressing 'cute' does not have to cost a lot and that Goodwill is in some ways the great equalizer," said principal Becky Kegley.
The show is a labor of love for teachers, who saw firsthand how empowering the event was last year for the girls who participated.
"Our teachers gave more than $400 to take them shopping," Kegley said. "Each girl got two outfits each – some chose a formal dress, and some went for a dressy outfit and a more casual one."
The show, planned for May 9 at 6 p.m. at the school, is open to the public at no cost. It's all about the girls – not about fundraising. There will also be refreshments donated or discounted by businesses in the community. The fashion show will be on stage in the auditorium, and there will also be cosmetology students from Genesis Beauty School to make sure each girl is looking her best before she hits the runway.
The fashion show is free to the public, but the school prefers it be ladies only to keep the models from feeling self conscious.
"Last year the only guy was the grandfather of one of the girls," Kegley said. "There are several things involved in this. We've got a lot of girls who have issues with self esteem and girls who have issues with financial things. We're trying to show them that as teachers we care about them."
She said the event also builds camaraderie between girls who usually wouldn't associate together at school. For the show, it's one for all and all for one. It seems the first show last year had a good effect on girls at the school.
"Everyone loves a bargain and dressing in a way that makes them feel good about themselves. In middle school, we have lots of issues with self-esteem," Kegley said. "We choose some of the models because we know that this moment to shine will have a long-lasting impact on who they are and where they will go in life."