The Uniform Project: Stylish, Sustainable + Socially Conscious

the uniform project

The Uniform Project is the self-imposed creative challenge of New Yorker Sheena Mathieken. She vowed to wear the same dress every single day for a whole year, keeping the outfit fresh and unique without buying anything new. This idea was born out of boredom and a yearning for a little more creativity in her life. Sheena’s purpose was two-fold though. She also set The Uniform Project up to work as an online fundraiser, raising money to send underprivileged kids to school.

The Uniform Project is her statement on ethical fashion and social responsibility in relation to consumption and the buying culture. She hopes that by using fashion as her medium, she can raise awareness about the importance of sustainability and being socially conscious without risking sense of style.

In May of 2009 the lofty project was launched, raising funds for the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organization providing education to children living in Indian slums. And day after day, Sheena reinvented her outfit, transforming it with only vintage, donated or handmade accessories and clothing. Her endeavor caught the attention of the media, and the world. The U.P. was featured in all manner of major media, like The New York Times, CNN, BBC and Vogue, and was written about on numerous blogs and fashion sites, her fund-raising efforts gaining momentum.

At the end of the year, The U.P. had raised over $100,000 in donations, and Sheena was even named one of Elle Magazine’s Women of the Year for 2009. Several of the huge international following of supporters joined with Sheena to form The Uniform Project company. Now in it’s second year, the company is expanding rapidly, and has morphed into a more all-encompassing mission.

Their month-long pilot program, where a participant picks an article of clothing and wears it everyday for a month while raising money for their chosen charity, has garnered quite a few followers and participants as well. In a time rife with change, monetary and career-related upheavals in both the world and in our homes and families, it makes sense that people are looking for a refreshing, invigorating even, challenge that’s pure purpose is that of good.

About the contributor: Shrie L. Spangler is one of the latest Indie Fixx interns. When she’s not doing story research, coordinating projects and coming up with posts, Shrie writes over on her blog, Lo & Behold. She also writes at guerrilla candy and at another rainy saturday. And she’s got her own Etsy Shop. She’s one busy lady.