Magic Wand Project

Island students embrace the reuse movement with prom dress, tux rentals

First inspired by young people skipping prom due to costs, one Saanich woman also embraces the reuse movement with her low-cost prom alternative.

Elizabeth Surerus, who started The Magic Wand in 2001 with a partner, says her clients include 50 to 60 students each year who simply can’t fathom spending hard-earned cash on an outfit to wear once – no matter the reason.

“Prom doesn’t have to be an expensive experience for high school students or their families,” Surerus said. “They can use that money towards their education or travel.”

Instead of laying out cash for a tux rental or fancy dress, for a nominal fee, grads can visit The Magic Wand and peruse the roughly 100 dresses and 40 suits, plus accessories, to get gear for the big night.

Available by appointment, students from across Greater Victoria are welcome to sort through the clothes and accessories at a site in Saanich, near public transit.

Surerus and her volunteers are on hand to show the garments,which they keep in a variety of styles and sizes. Students return the items afterward – the organization takes care of the dry cleaning.

“No student should miss their grad. That’s really why it started, students were missing it because of the cost,” Surerus said. “If there’s a student or family who can’t afford that, we waive the fee in some cases.”

She hears from families who have used the service and in some cases, those who expect to.

“As a single mom, your initiative and organization gives me comfort and hope. As a member of the community, it gives me pride,” wrote Deb H recently. “My daughter is only in Grade 11 this year, but I am certain that with today’s economic hardships only getting harder, we will be in need next year.”

Those looking to borrow for a small fee can email for an appointment.

An alterations specialist with time on their hands would be helpful, Surerus said.

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