Why a Jersey teacher is wearing the same outfit for 100 days
MOORESTOWN — Julia Mooney has to be out the door by 6:30 a.m. each day for work.
As a mother of three, including two toddlers, that can be challenging. But for now, she has to deal with one less obstacle — asking herself, what should I wear today?
Since the start of the 2018 academic year, the art teacher at William Allen Middle School has worn the same gray dress every school day. She'll keep doing so until at least February.
But having an easier morning is not the reason for Mooney's "one outfit, 100 days" campaign.
The eco-conscious Audubon resident has set out to shed some light on issues surrounding consumption and fast fashion, while at the same spreading the message that one shouldn't be judged based on how they look, but who they are.
"That's a really relevant message, especially in middle school when students are often starting to define who they are and kind of figure out their identities," Mooney told New Jersey 101.5. "A lot of times they tend to base that on the brands that they're wearing."
Thursday marks the 34th school day for the outfit — an ethically-produced dress, as Mooney describes it, made of a durable fabric.
The 35-year-old created an account on Instagram — a social media platform she hadn't used previously — to keep students, faculty and followers aware of her progress with the campaign.
Mooney's campaign has made an impression, and not just through attention from the media. To Mooney's surprise, a number of individuals have jumped on board with the same-clothes-different-day pattern, including her husband, other teachers and a 2nd-grader in the district.
"I didn't really expect anyone else to do this alongside me," she said.
Mooney said her "harmless activism" has the support of administration. After a couple weeks of wearing the same outfit, when students started asking questions, Mooney explained her goal to administration, and the conversation began.
Mooney said she washes the dress as needed; being an art teacher can be messy. She did own an identical dress as a backup, but last week she handed it over to a woman in Africa so she can spread the message along her travels.