NEW HARTFORD -- Many high schoolers are getting a head start on their prom dress shopping for the upcoming prom season.
Although prom dresses tend to be costly, searching for cheaper options could mean buying a knockoff.
“Over 700,000 counterfeit dresses were sold in the United States last year,” said Denise Houck, owner of The Princess Shop. “Prom is probably the largest online counterfeiting that's going on because they take all the designer's artwork, the designer's style, the numbers, everything about the dress on their model, and then they show you that dress. So, you think you're getting, obviously, the same dress and then you get a terrible knock off.”
Houck says avoiding internet fraud could be as easy as going to the store and trying the dress on."
"We highly recommend that you go in a store,” Houck said. “Feel it, touch it, get sized for it because you get the wrong size, if it's too small you can't release them. If they're too big, you can spend a lot of money on alterations to correct that."
Houck says it's important to pay attention to pricing when shopping for prom dresses.
"If you find it at a much-reduced price online, it's a fake,” said Houck. “It's that simple. If it's a 2019 or if it's that year's dress and if you see it at a drastically reduced priced, that is one way to absolutely tell."
For people who may have trouble affording dresses this prom season The Princess Shop in New Hartford partners with local schools to help girls live-out their prom dreams.
"Some of our local schools come to us and we give them dresses like from last year or the year before that didn't sell or might need a small repair or something so that they can pass those on and help some of the kids that are not able to do this."