Fair Fashion


Prom is considered a right of passage for many high schoolers, an occasion for students to feel glamorous as they dance, pose for photos, and make lasting memories with friends and classmates. 

RHS student shopping in the prom closetThe event is also expensive. Tickets, outfits and accessories, hair and makeup, transportation - all of these elements contribute to a hefty, often exclusionary, price tag. “I have a lot of friends that didn't attend last year because they can’t afford it,” shared Hailey Fry, a junior at Jurupa Valley High. 

But Hailey did attend prom last year because she found her perfect - and completely free - dress in her school’s prom closet. 

In JUSD, all three comprehensive high schools host prom closets for students - rooms filled with free dresses, suits, shoes, and accessories for any student who needs an outfit for prom. “I like that it’s open to everyone,” said Hailey. “It’s just a safe space.”

Gently used and new prom clothes are donated by staff and members of the community. “So many people do like to do community outreach work,” said Selena Banks, a campus supervisor who oversees the JVHS prom closet. “There’s always something to give.” 

JVHS students shopping the prom closetBefore establishing her school’s prom closet, Ms. Banks worked with JVHS administration to open the Jag Closet, a free clothing closet that operates outside of prom season featuring casual and interview-appropriate options as well as hygiene products. Ms. Banks strives to include high-quality brands and items so that students do not feel as though they are settling for less. 

“If you’re working in education, you already have something in you that says you want to help others, especially kids,” said Ms. Banks. “So if that’s in you, then you should push that out more to help the community around you.”

Rubidoux High’s prom closet also grew from a permanent clothing closet. The Falcon Wellness Center, which opened this school year, hosts weekly Thrifting Thursdays for students to “shop” for free clothes. In the lead-up to prom, the entire Wellness Center space was devoted to the prom closet. “Like every other resource that we offer here, we saw a need, so we filled it,” said Anna Avila, RHS outreach worker. 

RHS student wearing a suit walks the runway at the prom closet fashion showTo advertise their prom closets, Jurupa Valley and Rubidoux High put on fashion shows featuring outfits students could shop for. Kaela Hurst, RHS senior and ASB member, participated because she wanted her peers to see someone relatable modeling a dress. “I think it's important for students to have access to activities like prom because it makes high school memorable,” she shared. “It's a lot of fun to be able to bond with your friends and people you may not know.” 

Though prom closets cannot break down all barriers, there is no doubt that they contribute to equitable experiences for JUSD students and help to destigmatize financial hardship. “Rubidoux is every student as a whole,” said Ms. Avila. “Nobody should feel left out and nobody should feel that they can’t participate in all of the great things that we offer just because of their socioeconomic status or whatever reason that they feel that they wouldn’t be able to attend.” 

If you are interested in donating prom attire, please call one of our comprehensive high schools for more information. 


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