The Tokyo neighbourhood of Ginza is internationally renown for high-cost fashion, so it’s fitting that the students at the district’s public school not let down the team by looking too generic common in their uniforms – according to school officials.
Taimei Elementary School has announced plans to introduce the new uniform option (it’s not compulsory), which costs more than 80,000 yen ($940 AUD) for a full set. The basics are a navy-blue jacket and matching trousers or skirt, a long-sleeve shirt and a hat. It’s priced at more than twice the cost of the current uniform.
Naturally, the price has attracted criticism from parents of students, who were sent a letter about the change last November, but not consulted. Their feelings were echoed by Naoki Ogi, a popular education blogger, who posted, "It’s like saying no to poor people and welcoming only those who take pride in Armani."
The decision has been defended by the school's principal, Toshitsugu Wada, who told a news conference that Armani brand would fit Taimei’s identity as “a school of Ginza.” He explained that the Armani was selected because the boutique is near the school.
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Wada acknowledged the new uniform would cost more, but considered it worth it, and so is standing by his sartorial decision.
“I thought Taimei can use the power of the foreign fashion brand for its identity,” he said.
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There's been considerable backlash to the announcement, with opposition lawmaker Manabu Terada raising the controversy during a meeting of the Lower House Budget Committee. Terada observed that the uniforms were more expensive than business attire for many adults.
Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said, "Schools should be mindful of uniform prices so that parents won’t be overburdened. We also expect them to have sufficient discussions in the process with involved parties."
When asked if the decision could be reversed by the education board, Wada explained that the old uniform is no longer produced - which is one of the most best excuses we've heard for buying designer clothing.