Summer Rayne Oakes and the Uniform Project Pair Up for Charity

The Uniform Project launches a monthly pilot series with sustainable movers and shakers.

It’s amazing what a little black dress can do.

Ever since Sheena Mathieken’s virgin exploration into the wardrobe unknown, which entailed wearing a single dress for 365 days, women have taken on similar challenges, some to see if they could do it, others to raise money for charities. Eliza Starbuck’s Bright Young Things are chronicled on her site; The Uniform Project also attracts ultra-spartan dressers. The term “sustainable fashion” is certainly apt when your wardrobe revolves around one little black dress.

Enter Summer Rayne Oakes. All this month, the green model-turned-consultant’s project, Payless ShoeSource (with whom she has had collections), will support Oakes as she takes on the Uniform Project’s first “Pilot Series” challenge. Each month, a new fashionista will wear just one LBD on repeat to promote sustainable fashion and world causes.

Oakes’ is hoping that her charity of choice, Charity: Water, can make at least $10,000 to build two wells for communities that don’t have access to clean drinking water. Payless is pitching in as well, matching online fundraising dollar-for-dollar (up to $10,000).

Oakes says of her Mad Men-inspired LBD created by Carasan:

“I wanted to create a dress with fifties flair – partially because as you’ve found out, I LOVE that era but also because I think that 50s dresses were so flattering for a woman’s body. I have curves and think the dress we created “loves” the feminine form in all the right places – no matter what your shape or size. I enlisted my good friends – Terri and Sandy Rosenthal (a mother-daughter couture-trained design duo) of Carasan Designs to take my original sketches and make a highly versatile and functional piece that can be worn at least a dozen ways (and also equipped with comfy pockets – a must in a dress in my opinion!) I decided to source a 70% silk-30% hemp blend and a handwoven thai silk and hemp-organic cotton blend to give a little peak-a-boo of pink on the underskirt.”


While Oakes’ month has just begun, stay tuned for more inspiring women raising money for causes and pushing the envelope when it comes to maxing out a dress.

My favorite dress to date from the Uniform Project is from their very own social media and blogging guru Jessica Engle, who had her friend and designer at Edelweiss create an office appropriate LBD that you can unzip into two different pieces and wear in myriad ways.



Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.