Making the Dress: The Epiphany
When I first met Sheena in 2008, I had come to the conclusion that fashion made a better creative outlet than a meaningful career. At that time, I had made the decision to walk away from the fashion industry and the consumer culture it fueled. So when Sheena told me she was looking for someone who could make her dress, naturally, I was hesitant. But after she explained the concept behind the Uniform Project, I was excited at the prospect of using my skills as a fashion designer for a charitable cause that would also promote sustainable culture.
Soon after the U.P launched, people started asking where they could get the U.P dress. At first we shrugged off the request. I still did not want to get into the business of making or selling clothing and I was wary of taking on production on a commercial level. But the inquiries kept coming, along with amazing stories from fans that had started their own Little Black Dress challenges and who wanted to wear our dress for their own causes. We had women from around the world- Brazil, Russia, Uganda, Australia and more – who wanted to take the U.P challenge to raise money for their local schools. There was even a pregnant woman who vowed not to buy anything during her 9 months but instead would wear a Little Black Dress to raise funds for the March of Dimes; we had one woman challenge us to an LBD styling duel for her own cash donations; and there were plenty of women who were inspired by Sheena’s daily styling and simply wanted our dress so they could stop waking up stumped in the morning wondering what to wear. In general, there seemed to be growing demand for our dress as women made the shift to save their money and get creative with what they already had. That was the epiphany: if we could offer women a dress that functions as a versatile base palette for their personal style and creativity while giving them the opportunity to support a good cause, then maybe looking into production wasn’t such a bad idea… If by buying our one dress, women would forego buying five cheap and trendy dresses this year, that would be a big feat. Keeping that much junk out of the landfills alone would make production worthwhile to me, not to mention the funds that could be raised world wide by these individuals through the U.P model. Making the dress was starting to appeal more to me…
To be continued.