SUNY Oswego twin sisters launching non-profit, pick up Harlem Fashion Week award

Local News

A passion for fashion is guiding twin sisters studying business management at SUNY Oswego.

Zina and Shaleena Campbell, college seniors born and raised in Harlem, are getting ready to graduate but they’re also busy launching a non-profit — Harlem Dress Collective.

HDC is a prom dress drive to supply young girls with that “dream dress” for their big night.

“For me, I actually got my prom dress from a prom dress drive,” Zina said. “So, it really touched home for me because it’s just like I understood what it’s like to not have enough money for a dress.”

Their hard work and desire to give back is getting noticed in places known for fashion.

Just recently, Zina and Shaleena attended Harlem Fashion Week and were awarded the Cultural Fashion Groundbreakers Award.

“The award is just an award to me,” Shaleena said. “It’s more so what’s behind the award, which is the work. So, yeah it was nice getting the award, but if I didn’t get the award, I’d still be doing the Harlem Dress Collective.”

Zina says meeting fashion contacts at the award ceremony could lead to a future of working with Harlem Fashion Week and other fashion companies. In the future, they want to expand into collecting men’s suits and dresses for other occasions.

When they are not visiting places like Golden Gate Bridal in Oswego for inspiration, the twins are taking advantage of their sisterhood to get HDC up and running.

“We’ve been working together for around 20 years now, so we’re pretty used to working with each other and it just makes it fun,” Zina said. “Every day, I get to work with my sister.”

For now, HDC is going to be focused on helping New York City girls find their dream dress, but the Campbell sisters say the bigger dream is to set up a model  that could help people all over the country so the dream can come true for more girls.

“She’s great at making posters and I’m great at talking to businesses and reaching out to people,” Shaleena said. “I feel we’ve been able to, as twins, divide the work evenly so I think it’s been great.”

So far, HDC has about 100 dresses ready for this year’s prom dress drive, but the goal is to collect more. The sisters are fundraising to officially launch the non-profit and pay for clothing racks, accessories, makeup and hair accessories.

“Getting your hair done, your nails done,” Shaleena shared. “Putting on the big dress. It’s a really big moment. For the person who doesn’t go to prom, you have to go to school the next day and hear about everybody else’s good experience while you were just sitting at home.”

To donate to the HDC project, click here.

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