By  on May 25, 2007

NEW YORK — The senior girls at Marta Valle Secondary School on the Lower East Side here had something special to celebrate at their prom on Friday. They all wore dresses donated by the fashion industry.

In a school where the majority of the students' families fall below the poverty line, teacher Amy Blumenthal wanted to find a way to get prom dresses without the expense. She had started collecting donated bridesmaids dresses, and word of her efforts reached Jack Hendler, president of Net Worth Solutions Inc., a New York-based investment banking firm specializing in the fashion industry. Hendler immediately offered to help.

Net Worth Solutions was representing New York-based Zum Zum by Niki Livas, a $20 million formalwear company, in its sale to Alfred Angelo, the largest bridal importer in the U.S. The deal was completed last month. Zum Zum's founder and president, Niki Livas, personally went through her clothes to produce an assortment of 40 new, correctly sized gowns and dresses, which typically wholesale for $69 to $79 and retail for as much as $200, to all of the seniors.

"The girls looked so cute at prom, and the dresses were sleek and sophisticated with an edge,'' Blumenthal said.

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