Thanks to Rob Walker’s “Consumed” column in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine , I have been introduced to the awesomeness that is Sheena Matheiken’s Uniform Project . For 365 days, the pixie-ish designer has vowed to wear the same little black dress (or, rather, seven identical copies of the LBD) in an attempt to show how creativity can flourish when given heavy constraints. Think of it as fashion Oulipo .
Matheiken was inspired by the uniform-wearing schoolkids she grew up with in Kerala, India, who were always customizing their school-mandated threads. Proceeds from the project (she’s accepting donations via her website) go to the Akanksha School’s Project , an education non-profit based in India.
You could quibble with the “sustainability” aspect of her argument-after all, the project requires a lot of accessories, which may or may not get re-used much. (It’s hard to tell, since the project is only a few months old.) But Matheiken tells Walker that she’s thinking of having an auction at the end of the project, and a lot of the belts, hats, and shoes (oh, the shoes!) are sourced secondhand.
And God almighty if I don’t love looking at these pictures. (View them by month , rather than by day, for the best effect.) Not only is there something soothingly Warholian about all those repeated boxes, with their slight variations, but it’s also totally inspiring me to raid my mom’s closet for all her discarded scarves and baubles. If this girl can rock a dickey , then by God, so can I.