Spirit of Alabama: Finding the Perfect Prom Dress at Holt Studio 26

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Grace Brister

Holt High School is ensuring every student has the prom dress of their dreams through Holt Studio 26.

The program offers more than 300 special occasion dresses in new and like-new condition students all around Tuscaloosa County can borrow, with an inclusive range for students of all sizes.

Holt High School Principal Daniel Dickens and his wife Christina brought Holt Studio 26 to life as a way to give back.

“We noticed there weren’t a lot of people attending prom,” Christina Dickens said. “Very early on we just thought, ‘What could we do to make next year’s prom really great?’ One of the issues was that a lot of students did not have access to formal wear. We wanted to remove that barrier.”

Daniel Dickens said the goal of Holt Studio 26 is making students happy and ensuring they can make those all-so-special high school memories.

“Prom is a big night in a high schooler’s life,” Daniel Dickens said. “We don’t want anyone to ever say, ‘I couldn’t find a dress,’ or ‘I didn’t have a dress’ if we have dresses available for them to use.”

Holt High School freshman BrookLynn Jackson wore a dress from Holt Studio 26 for a recent beauty walk and said she had fun trying on dresses and helping friends find their own, too.

“It’s a good way for girls to come in and find their dream dress,” Jackson said. “My favorite part of the whole experience was helping all the other girls find their dresses. You could just see it in their eyes when they found the dress. It just made me happy.”

Jackson said they had the perfect dress to go with the theme she had in mind.

“I really wanted to go as (Disney’s “Frog and the Princess”) Tiana, especially because she’s the only Black princess,” Jackson said. “I ended up finding this dress and I was like, ‘I like this dress,’ so I got this one.”

Holt High School sophomore Portia Duff said she had a great time looking through all the dresses.

“It was fun,” Duff said. “I felt like I was at a mall or something, looking around and shopping. It was really fun.”

Christina Dickens said she loves when a student finds their perfect dress.

“The first time the first girl tried on a dress, she loved it,” Christina Dickens said. “She walked out and her face just lit up. I looked at Daniel and I said, ‘this is it, this is why we did this.’ ”

When deciding what to call the studio, the Ironmen of Holt High School wanted a deeper meaning to the name.

“Twenty-six is the atomic number for iron, and we wanted to focus on the saying that ‘iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,’ ” Christina Dickens said. “We really believe that here at Holt. When we do good for others, it will come back to us and our school.”

Daniel Dickens said he’s elated the program is helping students around Tuscaloosa County.

“One thing I think the studio does best is help people overcome barriers,” Daniel Dickens said. “Here at Holt, we believe in making sure the whole child is taken care of. Kids come in the doors and we can’t control where they come from, but we can control what happens in the building.”

Borrowing a dress is free, but Holt requests a $20 cleaning fee if it’s financially feasible for the student. Students can make alterations to their dress and return it with those alterations in place.

If you or someone you know wants to take a look at what’s available, you can schedule an appointment right here. Appointments are required.

Do you have a Spirit of Alabama you’d like to share? Email us at spiritofalabama@wvua23.com.

Categories: Featured, Local News, Spirit of Alabama