Friday, December 11, 2009

The Uniform Project: 1 Dress, 365 Days

Picture 23

Eliza Starbuck is the designer of the uniform dress that is the backbone of the uniform project. With a BFA in fashion design from Parsons School of Design and several years in the fashion industry she created a dress that can be worn both front ways and backwards or as an open tunic. She also created deep pockets to "appease my deep aversion for carrying purses" states Sheena. It's made from a durable cotton to make it as all-weather as possible.

Sheena Matheiken is the performer in what I see as a socially conscious ongoing performance art piece. Each day she wears the dress with accessories donated, found at flea markets or designed by aspiring designers. The details of her accessories for each day can be found on the site and you can also find information to donate something that you've created.

ACCESORIES DETAILS:Vintage dolman sleeve blouse from eBay seller Hi Vogue. Vintage embroidered gloves from Old Hollywood Brooklyn and 60's pumps from eBay.
And all of this is a fundraiser for the Ankanksha Foundation a grassroots movement that is revolutionizing education in India. At the end of the year, (meaning May 2010, a year from the beginning of the project) all contributions will go toward Akanksha’s School Project to fund uniforms and other educational expenses for children living in Indian slums. This project has already raised over $40,000 to date and this month E-bay will match your donations dollar-for-dollar.

ACCESORIES DETAILS: Vintage hat with blue stockings fashioned as rosettes. Vintage Koos maxi dress donated by Scully and pumps from eBay.
In addition to being a fundraiser, this project is a radical challenge to our consumer culture that encourages us to always buybuybuy moremoremore. I know that when I'm considering buying yet another thing that I might not really be able to afford the biggest deterrent is when I remind myself I can generally wear only one top, or dress etc at any given time. So will this particular piece I'm considering win out over my favorites? They say we all wear only 20 percent of what's in our closet 80 percent of the time. How great a reminder of how creativity can bring something fresh to an old dress this project is as well.

ACCESSORIES DETAILS: Vintage altered blouse and metallic tank from eBay, tights donated by Sockdreams, and platforms donated by Tara St. James.

And on why she chose fashion as a vehicle for fund-raising, Sheena said:
Fashion is such a visual and subjective medium, it offered an intrinsic draw. I wanted to take the daily act of dressing up – a routine everyone relates to – and make it a part of something bigger, something more consequential. The repetitive model of a 365 day project brings viewers back on a regular basis, which made it a great platform for fundraising.

ACCESSORIES DETAILS:Vintage blouse donated by Kristina at Beulahveda, stockings from Sockdreams and vintage wide rim hat and ankle boots from eBay.
So I encourage you all to go on The Uniform Project and check out all the other photos of Sheena's looks for inspiration and the sheer fun of it. And by all means contribute what you can as well.


  1. Love this project- what a smart and innovative way to incorporate style & substance.

  2. Hi there, This is Jessica from The Uniform Project.

    Thank you so much for this lovely post! And by the by, we are looking for stylish folk to wear our little black dress next year:

    Cheers from the U.P!