Year 2 : U.P Pilots take the stage


Year 2 of U.P features the ‘Pilot Series’ – a monthly series of micro-challenges featuring 1 Dress for 1 Month for 1 Cause. Following Sheena’s year of reinventing of her LBD, Year 2 of U.P unveils a new face in a new dress taking on the 1 dress challenge to fundraise for a cause of their choice. U.P worked with each of these select women to create their ideal LBD.  Each Pilot reinvented their dress for a whole month with accessories that are preowned, vintage, thrifted or donated to them.  Select LBDs from the series are released in limited edition runs based on demand, available at the U.P store >

Summer Rayne Oakes

Serial entrepreunuer, sustainability expert, model, author, speaker, entomologist and one terrific girl to know. For the month of March 2011, Summer reigned in spring in her LBD designed by Terri and Sandra of Carasan Designs. And she raised funds for one of our favorite causes in town, charity: water. Adding more excitement to the month was Payless ShoeSource (on behalf of Summer’s environmentally-preferable shoe line zoe&zac) who agreed to match funds dollar-for-dollar up to 10k. The month was a raging success, surpassing Summers goal of 10k by raising a total of $12,519, enough to build two Uniform Project wells in a developing country. Meeting geek-chic with a modern day Mad Men twist, her style captured her the tag of “Green Goddess”.

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

Sarah is the “Lil Snotty” half of the Brooklyn-based clothing line Ruffeo Hearts Lil’ Snotty (RHLS).  As busy business owner/designer she hardly has time to sleep much less to consider her own style.  So when asked to be a Pilot she was both terrified and excited.  Wearing a dress of her own design she broke from RHLS’s color based mantra and focused on shape.  Harnessing the power of two-way zippers, this RHLS designed LBD transformed to drastically altered looks. “We can not nourish the minds of our communities if their bodies are not first nourished,” were her thoughts as she raised money for City Harvest, an organization aiming to end hunger in NYC.  And by February’s end, Sarah’s highly original “whimsy and mischief” style raised $992 for City Harvest.

Jessica Engle

Jessica Engle

Jessica, aka wasabipear, is a memorable character. Fresh out of grad school she started helping Sheena and soon became social media voice behind U.P. for a year and a half.  At the age of 5 Jessica moved Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the culture was a beautiful and scary cacophonous explosion.  The extreme poverty and malnourishment had a lasting impact on Jessica. And it was these childhood experiences that prompted her in choosing to help support classroom construction for the Senale village.  By securing a private sponsor that matched funds 5 times over, Jessica did a fantastic job for the Glimmer of Hope foundation.  And when all was said and done, she reached an impressive $11,296 in her “Corporate Funk” 2-piece LBD, an Edelweiss-by-Sarah Design.

Aki Goto

Aki Goto

In Aki’s own words, “Creation is strongly connected to the joy of life”.  As a painter, performer, musician and now fashion designer, she views herself as an artist above all. The importance of creativity holds a special resonance for Aki. Having recently lost her dear friend to cancer, an extraordinarily warm and giving soul, it serves Aki as a poignant reminder to live life full of love and poetry. During her challenge she took us on an adventure from NYC to Idaho, with her boyfriend, their dogs and a series of amazing pictorial narratives.  Choosing Songs for Kids as her fundraiser, Aki made sure the arts were in all aspects of the journey. And with her heightened creativity, Aki spread a ton of joy and raised an auspicious $1,111.

Angie Johnson

Angie Johnson

Hailing from Montreal, Angie started her first clothing line at 16 leading her to pursue a career in fashion. After 8 years in the mainstream industry she started her solo label Norwegian Wood, which is now one of the most coveted shops on Etsy.  Angie has been following U.P since Year 1, so when we approached her about being a Pilot she jumped to join the team. She collaborated with U.P’s Tara St. James to design an LBD with a twist – a Long Black Dress. She raised funds for Free the Children, a Canadian organization dedicated to helping children through education; a cause right up our alley. Her goal for November was to help build a school in Bagad, India.  Easily the most “inspired” to the U.P. community, she raised a rousing $2,223.

Angie Johnson

Isis Salam

Nigeria-born, Canada-bred electro hip-hop singer/emcee/producer, Isis is easily one of the funniest people we know. With her lyrical talent and musical chops, Isis spent the majority of the month shooting back and forth between the studio and the stage, simultaneously touring and working on her new album. For her cause, Isis raised money for One Laptop Per Child in order to supply laptops to the kids at the Galadima School in Abuja, Nigeria. The rugged energy-efficient laptops cost $209 so Isis was on a mission. And with the savior faire of someone not shy of the stage, Isis rocked it for the month of October 2010, raising $1,954.

Lesley Arfin

Lesley Arfin

Before approaching Lesley about the challenge, U.P was a fan of her blog. People read Lesley’s stuff because she writes what’s on her brain with the guts of a gunslinger. And her column “Dear Diary” for Vice Magazine, which became her first published book, is now the stuff of legend. During her month, she raised funds for the New York branch of the Phoenix House, an organization that Lesley holds close to her heart, that helps people overcome drug addiction. In her spare time Lesley enjoys needlepoint, dancing, riding her bike, watching TV, and joking around with her friends.  Lesley worked the tag “hot” more than anyone as she raised $544.

India Salvor Menuez

India Salvor Menuez

Effortless, artsy, slightly subversive and ultra-mellow, India is the half New Yorker, half Icelander knockout.  StyleLikeU first raided her closet when she was just 16, videotaping as she shared her love for oxy-morons, antique stores with a foot in the grave and hot glued clothes. At her alternative school, India would spend half her weeks in class and the other half interning at threeASFOUR. And during the summer she volunteered with NY2NO, helping New Orleans’ Katrina devastated areas. As an advocate of alternative education, especially for kids who’d otherwise receive minimal schooling, India wore her LBD to support Our School at Blair Grocery.  And with “Batty” tags galore, India raised $1,795 during her month.

Want to take on a U.P challenge?

Since Sheena’s first LBD challenge, U.P has inspired a slew of 1-dress projects around the globe supporting various social causes. If you wish to take on a U.P challenge, let us know and we will feature you on our site and give you access to the global U.P community. Get Involved >