The Uniform Project

Posted on
Sep 7, 2009
Posted in: Awesome

I’m a big advocate of social responsibility and activism. Especially if it somehow involves fashion. So I was blown away by The Uniform Project, a unique fundraiser disguised as an exercise in sustainable fashion. Confused? Fear not. It’s actually quite simple:

This past spring, Sheena Matheiken vowed to wear the same dress every day for a year – she had seven identical black dresses made, one for each day of the week. Inspired by a childhood spent in Indian schools (where girls wore uniforms but still expressed their personality through fashion), and paired with an arsonage of accessories and baubles that would make any hardcore magpie drool (myself included. mops up keyboard), Matheiken has created chic, occasionally jaw-dropping ensembles.

I love this. Of course, it helps that shes cute as a bug and itsy-bitsy, but still. Its adorable.

I love this. Of course, it helps that she's cute as a bug and itsy-bitsy, but still. It's adorable.

Its like Peter Pan meets Sinatra. I might need those boots.

It's like Peter Pan meets Sinatra. I might need that hat.

In honor of MJ.

In honor of MJ.

Most of her accoutrements are vintage, salvaged, repurposed, or handmade, and, along with her little black dress, help to transform her outfits into something far greater than the sum of their parts. Her goal, in addition to teaching fashionistas the world over a lesson or two about eco-conscious couture, is to raise awareness and money for the Akanksha School Project, a non-profit dedicated to improving and revolutionizing education for children living in India’s slums.

Why bring this up on a travel blog? The way I figure it, if one woman can turn a single dress into 365-days worth of style, YOU CAN PACK LESS (which means lighter planes, and less fuel consumption) and still look friggin amazing. Matheiken’s approach to fashion, while far better executed, isn’t far from my own: simple basics + fun embellishments = sartorial heaven. Accessories are smaller, lighter, easier to pack, and notoriously easy to shop for, wherever you are (no dressing rooms!). Plus, they’re a quick and easy way to make any outfit multi-purpose.

And, since as of midnight I’m embarking on my own 365-day project (one I call “Being 29”), I made a donation to The Uniform Project in honor of my birthday. A $29 donation, which seems appropriate.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to celebrate the first day of the rest of my twenties.

P.S. – all photos courtesy and property of The Uniform Project. Thanks for letting me use ’em!

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