Thus, in May 2009, with fashion as her medium, and education her cause, U.P Founder Sheena Matheiken launched the Uniform Project, pledging to wear one little black dress for 365 days as an exercise in sustainability and a fundraiser to support the Akanksha Foundation— a non-profit organization providing education to underprivileged children living in Indian slums. And for the next year, Sheena reinvented her uniform by accessorizing with vintage, handmade, reused, or donated pieces.This project was inspirational on so many levels. It proved that you can lift modestly, but do it with style and serve a higher purpose all at the same time. I really enjoyed watching the dailies and voting on them, at the end of the year when everything was auctioned off I tuned out. I decided to check back in to see what the U.P. is up to for year 2 and was pleasantly surprised.
Apparently, they've been very busy after all; now it appears that the project is even bigger than before. The video above is a speech that Sheena, the U.P. creator, gave in Dubai at TEDx last year. In it she explains the history and the future of the next evolution of the Uniform Project. They have moved to pilots, where individuals participate by making the U.P. their own. They follow all of the original rules of wearing only vintage or handmade accessories, and the same little black dress each day and raise money to support the cause of their choice. It's a series of pilots actually, and rather than an entire year, each person does a mini-challenge of one-month. You can follow each of the pilot dailies as well and track their earnings. I love this idea and may even get up the nerve to try this myself one day. If you would like to create your own challenge wearing the famous LBD, the U.P. has actually opened a store where you can purchase it in their new store or make your own using the pattern they've created. Naturally all of the proceeds are going to charity, so you can feel good about buying a new frock. Check out the U.P. LBD below with photos and information directly from the site.
Support the Kids
Contribute $14 USD from your dress purchase to the Akanksha Foundation for the education of underprivileged children in India. Learn more
Join the Movement
Let this LBD be your personal styling canvas. Wear it over and over, again and again. Take the U.P pledge and join us in changing our world one outfit at a time. Take the U.P Pledge
We believe the only way to create a sizable and meaningful shift in consumption is to design products that are not only ethically sound, but also beautiful, imaginative, and inspiring. Hence we give you the new Classic U.P LBD. During her year long fundraiser, Sheena showed us just how far a dress can go by mixing social responsibility with styling prowess. When you buy this dress you will be supporting our cause, and adding a versatile staple to your wardrobe. Get the full details.