Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Japan Armani school kit sparks storm

Japan Armani school kit sparks storm

Although the uniform at Taimei Elementary School is voluntary, nearly all the students wear it.

A public school in Tokyo is proposing to take its dress code to a luxury level by introducing Giorgio Armani uniforms for students. The elementary school is introducing uniforms for pupils, each coasting more than 80,000 yen ($729), including optional items. School uniforms are widely worn in Japan, but their aim is generally to develop a sense of school identity and avoid the burden of adolescent fashion - not add to it.

"From the intention to make a uniform as a 'school of Ginza, ' we went around department stores and Armani accepted designing it as a result", the school told the board.

"It might be problematic if only one student can not afford it", he said. "The officials should have thought about the children and made a decision after holding discussions", one parent, who did not wish to be identified, told national broadcaster NHK.

"I was surprised, and wondered why such luxury brand-designed uniforms have been picked for a public elementary school", an unnamed mother was quoted by the Huffington Post as saying.

'Why Armani?': Parents question pricey uniforms at public school in Tokyo's Ginza district
This primary school in Japan is forcing children to wear Armani uniforms every day

Opposition lawmaker Manabu Terada even raised the issue during a parliamentary session, questioning the logic of such an expensive uniform at a public school with students from a range of backgrounds. Government ministers agreed that some families may not be able to afford the new clothing.

The backlash has brought unwanted attention to Taimei Elementary School, which dates its history to the late 19th century and whose well-known ivy-covered school building is just blocks away from Tokyo's most expensive real estate.

While the school says the new uniforms are not mandatory, critics said parents would feel compelled to buy them to ensure their children were not left out.

In a letter to parents last November, headmaster Toshitsugu Wada said Taimei was a landmark in Ginza, and the decision to adopt the Armani-designed uniforms aimed at creating an atmosphere suitable for such a school, the Huffington Post said.

At a news conference on Friday, Wada said that he chose Armani because the brand operated a boutique near the school and because it would fit Taimei's identity as a "school of Ginza".

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