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Destruction of wedding dresses sparks outrage, disbelief

It takes a whole lot of thought, a whole lot of fabric and a whole lot of work to create a wedding dress. Perhaps that helps to explain why so many people are so torn up about what recently took place outside a bridal shop that was going out of business.

Last Friday, onlookers were horrified to see bridal and formal gowns that cost thousands of dollars being spray-painted and thrown into a Dumpster outside the Priscilla of Boston boutique in Edina, Minn. The dresses being painted included a $6,000 Vera Wang creation and a number of other high-dollar gowns.

“It was just terrible. It was a terrible sight,” Bessie Giannakakis of Bessie’s Boutique in Edina told KARE-TV, an NBC affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul. “You would never in your life think, ‘Let’s spray-paint a dress.’ Give it to somebody ... who doesn’t have the money.”

David’s Bridal, owner of Priscilla of Boston, announced last year that it would shutter all of its Priscilla of Boston locations. After 65 years in business, the chain closed on Friday, Dec. 30.

What rattled eye witnesses in Minnesota was the way the Edina boutique opted to dispose of its unsold merchandise. Local residents and small business owners flocked to the Dumpster in a last-ditch effort to salvage what they could. A woman named Sheila Roth snapped photos and shared them with local television stations.

KARE-TV contacted Priscilla of Boston and received this statement in response:

“Priscilla of Boston has always donated quality bridal gowns to a variety of charitable causes. We do not, however, donate unsaleable dresses that are damaged, soiled or in otherwise poor condition.”

Women who spoke with KARE-TV reported that many of the dresses were in excellent condition, and some were still in boxes.

“It’s such a shame that perfectly wearable gowns were destroyed,” Recycled Bride founder Tracy DiNunzio told Recycled Bride is a site that allows people to buy and sell gently used wedding dresses and other wedding items.

“When you think of all the resources that go into producing these dresses, and how many ways they could benefit someone, it’s quite sad,” DiNunzio continued. “Why didn’t they donate them to Brides Against Breast Cancer, or Wish Upon a Wedding? So wasteful!”

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