At a West Chicago event that offered prom dresses Thursday in a kaleidoscope of colors, the focus was green.
Not green for the cash high schoolers or parents usually have to shell out for prom gowns, but green for the recycling effort that made thousands of dresses available to students for free.
USAgain, a West Chicago-based textile recycling company, brought thousands of used or new dresses to the commons area at West Chicago Community High School for West suburban girls with any valid high school ID to select at no cost.
It was the second annual "Prom Goes Green" event, but the first held in the suburbs after the giveaway began last year at Malcom X College in Chicago, said Rasham Grewal, marketing manager for USAgain.
"As a green company, our goal is to spread awareness and education on building recycling," Grewal said. "We believe events like this, like 'Prom Goes Green,' are a great way to spread awareness of reuse and re-wear and recycle among high school students."
Grewal said organizers expected at least 100 girls from West Chicago or nearby communities to attend the event and choose a free prom gown pulled from USAgain collection boxes across the region or donated specifically for "Prom Goes Green."
East Aurora senior Emily Guevara attended for the second year searching for a dress at a USAgain prom dress event.
St. Charles North sisters Elizabeth and Victoria Parrilli liked the large selection of different styles available among the 1,500 dresses to choose from Thursday evening.
Aside from giving used dresses a second life and cutting prom costs for attending students, Grewal said the event prevented chosen gowns from being thrown away to sit indefinitely in a landfill.
"Luckily, the former owners of these dresses opted not to put them in the trash," Grewal said.