The Uniform Project: Interactivity and Fundraising

The Uniform Project combines activism, fashion, and fundraising in a way that would not be possible without an interactive platform. Sheena Matheiken connects her Indian heritage to fashion by choosing to wear a uniform (the same black dress) every day for a year. Each day, she uploads a photo of her outfit and a brief description. Accessories are donated by independent designers who receive acknowledgment on the site.

The site is separated into several sections. There are links to find out more about Matheiken’s cause and to donate money to schools in India. There is a blog with news and updates that is separate from the Dailies portion of the site, where she posts her outfits.

This combination of activism and style blog is intriguing. Style bloggers like Rumi and Camille showcase their personal style and have been invited to New York Fashion Week and have had the opportunity to collaborate with major brands. It seems that the old guard of fashion journalists are being edged out by these young, savvy women with self-timers and killer heels.

Matheiken is taking the growing interest in style blogging and turning it into a lesson on charity and sustainability. “Every day I will reinvent the dress with layers, accessories and all kinds of accouterments, the majority of which will be vintage, hand-made, or hand-me-down goodies. Think of it as wearing a daily uniform with enough creative license to make it look like I just crawled out of the Marquis de Sade’s boudoir,” she writes in the About section of the blog.

While fashion blogs generally act as inspiration for those who read them, this one in particular aims to help people find new ways to wear the same thing over and over. Matheiken’s use of color and texture to elevate a plain black dress is a strong lesson in creativity and persistence. Her blog promotes sustainability and creativity rather than trend and consumption. The designers who are featured on her site are typically independent and reuse and recycle materials to make their items.

Without the interactive element, this project would exist in a vacuum. Perhaps all 365 of the outfits would end up on a gallery wall somewhere, but the wide-reach of the Web and its collaborative potential means that this project owes a great deal to the platform it was designed for.

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