SUNY Oswego students’ dress drive thrives, helps others

OSWEGO, N.Y. –– SUNY Oswego seniors Zina and Shaleena Campbell were just two twin sisters who hated the fact that prom dresses were so expensive. They noticed many girls in their Harlem neighborhood faced a similar hardship.

When they decided to donate their prom dresses, the twin sisters figured the best option was to help more girls by creating the Harlem Dress Collective.

Their non-profit organization gives eligible girls an opportunity to come to one of the events they host, pick out a dress, wear it, clean it, and return it for the next girl to wear.

Back in February, the business majors received the Cultural Fashion Groundbreakers award, the top honor from Harlem Fashion Week.

Their efforts haven’t stopped since then and Shaleena credits the help of a SUNY Oswego faculty member as a catalyst for their process.

“We started in August and last semester we studied with Sarah Bonzo during an independent study,” Campbell said. “So she helped me really get off the ground and here we are, still working on it.”

The simplicity of the process is what attracts many girls and while the twins were aiming to collect 100 dresses, they were able to surpass that amount by over 70 dresses.

With hopes to expand the business outside of Harlem in the future, these Oswego seniors have their eyes set on making as many girls dreams come true