For our final Women Making History post, we’re featuring a woman who just might be the greatest stylist in the world. Sheena Matheiken of The Uniform Project has worn the same dress since May 1, 2009 to raise money for Indian children who otherwise couldn’t afford to go to school. (To be fair to Sheena’s personal hygiene — it’s actually seven dresses of the same design). Eleven months later, her innovative project has raised over $60,000, and she’s done it all while looking absolutely fierce.
You know that feeling you sometimes have — when you want to do something, but instead you get distracted and forget about it? Well, Sheena took that feeling and ran fast with it. “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.”
A product of a uniform-mandated Indian school, Sheena became enthralled with the Akanksha Foundation’s mission to help less privileged children. In a country where 80% of children drop out before high school, Akanksha provides children from the slums, who normally wouldn’t receive any schooling, with a solid education, self-esteem, and the opportunity for a flourishing childhood.
With the help of her friend Eliza Starbuck, who designed a little black dress for Sheena that could be worn backwards, forwards, or as a tunic, Sheena started The Uniform Project as a year long creative challenge to herself and to raise awareness about sustainable fashion. She’s proven that a little creativity goes a long way.
Using vintage, homemade, and donated items — sometimes even repurposed packaging materials — Sheena reinvigorates her LBD each day. She posts daily outfit photos and encourages visitors to the site to rate her style ventures (‘Batty’ and ‘Brave’ are options, among others). But no matter your opinion of Sheena’s ensemble, you can’t help but feel inspired by her inventive combinations, not to mention the cause for which she’s doing it.
Thus far, The Uniform Project has raised enough money to send 167 children to school for a year. Click here to donate to the cause!
We’ll be interviewing Sheena next month as she wraps up The Uniform Project! What would you like to know?