PORTAGE PARK — After a tough year with missed high school dances and remote learning, high school kids looking to turn heads can get free prom and homecoming dresses Sunday at a local boutique.
Kasia’s Bridal and Special Occasion Boutique, 6039 W. Irving Park Road, is offering homecoming, prom and bridesmaid dresses for a one-day event to give back to the community that helped support the business during the pandemic, said owner Kasia Labedzki-Pierga.
For a $50 entry fee, people can browse the selection of 2,000 free dresses, which will include evening gowns and mother’s dresses. The event starts 8 a.m. Sunday.
The Sunday event is meant to help teens who missed out on traditional dances last year, and especially those on a budget amid the financial turmoil of the pandemic, Labedzki-Pierga said.
“They will get a high-quality gown, especially those on a budget — these girls are still going to prom,” she said.
Labedzki-Pierga said she encourages people to register in advance to avoid waiting in line, as she expects a large turnout. If people don’t register beforehand, she recommends bringing a chair while waiting.
Since high school classes have resumed in person, Labedzki-Pierga said she has seen mothers and daughters come to the shop with high hopes of purchasing a fancy dress for prom or homecoming — only to be unable to find a dress in their budget.
“Girls come in with pictures of prom dresses. If your budget is $100 and you are showing me an $800 dress … they will settle. My heart goes out to them,” she said. “I know what it’s like to have to settle, so I am happy to give back for a community.”
Labedzki-Pierga said she is forever grateful to the community who helped her stay afloat during the pandemic. When weddings, proms and other events were canceled, the boutique pivoted to making masks for essential workers. After news spread of the efforts, clients donated fabric and sewing materials to the workers. The boutique made more than 20,000 masks.
People even asked to buy masks from Kasia’s Bridal to support them, which helped the business stay open since it did not receive any city grants.
“That saved us,” Labedzki-Pierga said.
“I am not out to get, but also to give,” she said. “I would love to do something for those girls who missed out last year.”
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