NOTHING TO WEAR
THIS IS A UNIFORM
Nothing to wear is my personal uniform, one single outfit, that I wore for the full 228 days of my thesis. I then expanded it into a service for others. I have continued to wear a uniform to this day. I am currently wearing my third iteration.
– Concept Development, User Research, Experience Design –
My research for The Void revealed the paradox that we can add value to our lives through subtraction. I decided to test this hypothesis using myself as a test subject. Nothing to Wear centers around the idea that there was something to be gained from subtracting out the daily decision of what to wear from my routine.
I carefully curated a personal uniform consisting of the following: 4 t-shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 sweater, 2 bras, 7 pairs of underwear, 7 pairs of socks and 1 pair of sneakers. I then emptied my closets of all other garments. I wore these exact garments, every single day for the full duration of my thesis, a total of 228 days.
my uniform has changed my identity
There were many concrete results, many quantitative benefits. I spent 38% less on clothes over the eight-month period of this project than I did during the same period the year before. I saw a 55% saving from the year prior, when I wasn't living on a student budget. I saved approximately 47 hours, nearly two full days, getting dressed. I cannot even calculate the number of hours I saved by not window shopping or browsing shopping sites on the internet.
My uniform has resulted in new rituals as well. Now with a limited number of garments to rotate through, I routinely hand wash my clothes once a week, saving time, money and environmental impact. Hand washing increases the longevity of my clothes and I've learned to consciously care for my clothing in a way I never did before. Packing for travel is a breeze.
I would go as far as to say my uniform has changed my identity. As I mentioned, I still wear a uniform to this day. My peers, friends and family now identify me with my uniform, alleviating any social pressure about clothing choices. I've gone to engagement parties, holiday parties, interviews and business meetings all in my uniform.
we spend far too much time, resources and cognitive energy on producing, advertising, buying and choosing what we wear
Wanting to share this experience with others I developed the concept into a service offering, Uniformd. The aim of Uniformd is to challenge the fact that, as a culture, we spend far too much time, resources and cognitive energy on producing, advertising, buying and choosing what we wear.
As part of the service, Uniformd agents provide members with guidance and an allotment of quality garments that are selected specifically because they will wear well over time. The business is modeled out as a partnership with like-minded brands that produce the garments curated by Uniformd. Further user research led to a key feature of the service: the ability for members to share their experiences, and to track their progress through individualized pages on the Uniformd site. The Uniformd blog features members who have hit certain time milestones—one month, three months, six months, and one year. Contrasting with the current glut of daily fashion blogs that focus on people’s clothing and product choices, the Uniformd blog highlights the reflective thoughts and experiences of its members.
You can read more about the research and user testing behind this project in my thesis book, The Void.