The Uniform Project


uniform project fair labor

uniform project ethical fashion

Halloween, the day of costume and pretend, is a great testament to how we’re able transform ourselves and our lives everyday using fashion, style, and design.

In May 2009, Sheena Matheiken launched the Uniform Project.
Using fashion as her medium, and education her cause, Matheiken pledged
to wear one little black dress for 365 days as a fashionable example of
sustainable of living. She also raised funds for the Akanksha
– a non-profit organization providing education to children
living in Indian slums. And she succeeded. For exactly 365 days, Sheena
reinvented her uniform accessoriizing only with vintage, handmade,
reused or donated items.

But the most profound result of the experiment is the amount of attention Matheiken received over the course of her project. A dress pattern is available for purchase, for those of you ambitious enough to launch your own experiment in sustainable dressing. Or you could just pledge to not buy any new clothes for the next several months, or you could dedicate your self to only wearing clothing you make for yourself. But the very best thing you could do is focus on buying items you really need–foundation pieces. I remember when I used to write copy at Donna Karan, “7 Easy Pieces” was one of Donna’s signatures.

When you purchase something, do you think beyond that moment of transaction, to when the item is no longer of use? What will become of it? Do you think about where it came from, its production, manufacturing, distribution? Consumer Research says we do think about all of these things.

Walking around on Halloween day, looking at all of the store bought and handmade costumery, I couldn’t help but wonder a. Who made all of those silly and scary and cute costumes and b. What will become all that is Halloween when it no longer is Halloween. I remember not so long ago we all made our costumes. This is still something I do. I guess I’m old school that way.


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