When most people take a vow it tends to be in a church, accompanied by their future spouse and a few too many distant relatives. Aunt Hilda has gone a little heavy on the punch, her bedazzled sweater dress becomes a spinning blur on the dance floor, and the bride can only ask herself, “Who’s Aunt Hilda?”
Sheena Matheiken, on the other hand, is decidedly more unconventional in her aims. When this Brooklyn native took a vow in May, it was not of matrimony but “an exercise in sustainable fashion” –- she promised to wear one dress for 365 days. In a mere three months since the birth of her sartorial venture, aptly named The Uniform Project, Matheiken has already begun making waves (well-groomed, immaculately adorned, and swoon-worthy waves).
Thanks to the power of the almighty internet, The Uniform Project has seen exponential and rapid exposure, which has helped to support Matheiken’s greater motive of raising money. Her charity of choice is the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organization that makes accessible “uniforms and other educational expenses” for children in need in India’s public school system. Much of Matheiken’s inspiration stems from similar beginnings having been schooled and raised in India, and she describes the process of modifying school uniforms with a certain nostalgic tone.
“Despite the imposed conformity, kids always found a way to bend the rules and flaunt a little personality. Boys rolled up their sleeves, wore over-sized Swatches, and hiked up their pants to show off their high-tops. Girls obsessed over bangles, bindis and bad hairdos. Peeking through the sea of uniforms were the idiosyncrasies of teen style and individual flare.” – Matheiken