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Edmonton fashion designer looks to gift a custom graduation gown

Click to play video: 'Edmonton designer gifting custom dress to high school student in need'
Edmonton designer gifting custom dress to high school student in need
High school graduation is meant to be a happy and exciting time - but not every family can budget for it. Edmonton fashion designer Jessica Halabi put a call out to Instagram looking to make someone's graduation experience with a custom dress. The post caught traction and the offer has expanded. Ciara Yaschuk has the story. – Sep 27, 2022

High school graduation is a happy and exciting time for many, but the expenses that come with it can also be extremely stressful — and that’s where a local fashion designer is hoping to help.

Jessica Halabi said she remembers how hard the financial strain was for her family.

“Graduation and gowns. The banquet tickets, the dresses, the hair, everything just adds up,” said Halabi. “Then the graduation pictures, the make-up and yearbooks.

“I remember I didn’t get a yearbook until my 10-year anniversary.'”

That’s why Halabi decided to offer help to others who may be worried about graduation finances like she was years ago.

Read more: Tallying graduation costs

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Last week, Halabi took to Instagram with her story, and at the end of the post, she offered to help someone like her, promising a free custom grad dress for a student who is unable to buy their own gown.

“Times were tough for me at the time, and I know times are tough right now for people. This can kind of be an after thought for lots of families,” she said.

The post quickly gained traction, spurring others to join in on her generous initiative with Alberta Barber Academy offering to pay for a second dress.

Fashion Designer, Jessica Halabi, will be gifting a custom grad dress to a student who needs it most. Ciara Yaschuk / Global News

“The community, seriously, everybody has just wanted to step up and support this and add from their businesses,” said Halabi.

“Individuals came forward and they wanted to support this cause and add to the grad giveaway.”

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Read more: A second year of abnormal graduation ceremonies in Edmonton

Vanity Box, a beauty salon, added to the cause by vowing to donate makeup and nail services. Individuals have also offered to buy accessories and shoes. Not to mention two other organizations have offered to provide two tailored suits.

What’s left to make this generous donation happen? Students who are in need and currently enrolled/graduating from grade 12.

“If you’re a teacher, if you’re a counsellor and you know someone who this could help, or change their life, please nominate them,” said Halabi.

Applications and stories of deserving students can be submitted to Halabi’s Instagram page or at her email jhfgradgown@outlook.com.

“This giveaway could benefit somebody, and it literally would mean the world to me,” said a teary-eyed Halabi.

“I know how important it is for so many students. I know this extra is unreachable for many people.”

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