The Uniform Project

Many years ago, Isha Andaya of Preview Magazine asked me to take part in their Chosen One series. 

If any of you are loyal Preview followers you’ll know that this was a well-loved section in their pages. 

A semi-celeb or model was given one item of clothing and asked to style it ten different ways. You could use your own clothes or accessories to complete the looks, but were encouraged to borrow from retailers. Many of whom would’ve walked through fire to be featured in one of the country’s hottest glossies. 

Up for the challenge, I headed to Preview’s snazzy office to pick up my one item. 

I shouldn’t have been too surprised when the fashion editor handed me a bright blue Hawaiian shirt that looked like it belonged in the drawer of a seven year old boy. 

But I was.

I spent a whole week ransacking my closet and scouring the malls, wondering how the hell I was going to make a printed Hawaiian shirt into anything fashionistas would covet.

I began to worry that any get-up I did wouldn’t be good enough for the style gods at Preview. Believe me, these ladies knew their sh*t. 

Behold, my first look.


But in the end, I just stuck to what I thought best and came up with these variations:


I was happy to get Isha’s approving nods as I stepped out of the dressing room with each new outfit and felt loads lighter when the challenge was over. Phew.  

Preview no longer does their ‘Chosen One’ pages and I remember one of their editors telling me it’s because it wasn’t easy to find victims willing participants up for the task. 

So, why did I share this little anecdote from my life? 

Because I’d like us all to imagine having to wear one piece of clothing and reinventing it everyday for one whole year.

Now imagine if buying new clothes or accessories wasn’t an option. You could only use what you owned or what was kindly given to you. 

This is exactly what Sheena Matheiken set out to do. 


To raise funds so children in India could attend school, Sheena gave herself the task of wearing a little black dress 365 ways.

She also decided that spending money on new items to complete her outfit would be against her cause, so she only used accessories and clothes she already owned or were given to her.

Her journey was then documented in her awesome site The Uniform Project

Here are some of the looks:


Sheena’s reached her one year mark in April of 2010 and this recap video is a must watch:

Uniform Project Picture Book from Uniform Project on Vimeo.

Other people are now invited to raise money on The Uniform Project for their own causes by sporting one dress for one month.

I’m tempted to ask Sheena if I can give it a try and relive my Preview experience, but I’ll need a little more pushing from readers to even have the courage. Anyone else want to give it a go? 

Check out her video from Ted Talks in Dubai to be inspired. 

TEDxDubai 2010| Sheena Matheiken from Giorgio Ungania on Vimeo.