Tensions over Japan school fashion: Parents angry that expensive Armani uniform required


Some of the uniform's items, including the jacket, trousers and skirt, were designed by Italian luxury brand Armani.

According to Huffington Post Japan, Taimei Elementary School located in the upscale Ginza district, a fashionable neighbourhood in Japan, recently announced its decision to implement the new "uniform" which it believes would reflect the school's status as a "landmark" in Ginza, it explained in a letter to parents. A minimum set - a navy-blue jacket and matching pants or skirt, a long-sleeve shirt and a hat - would be more than twice the price of the current uniforms.

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".

The principal said the current school clothing is no longer being produced, leading the board to conclude that the changeover could not be postponed. Wada said that the controversy surrounding the choice had not changed his belief that the cost of the new uniforms was worth it.

In Japan, where a sense of belonging and conformity are valued, uniforms are worn at most secondary schools and used to be considered durable and thrifty.

School principal Toshitsugu Wada admitted the price was "not low" but flatly denied any plans to back down, saying he wants to seek parents' understanding. Critics say the uniforms are part of rigid school rules which could infringe on diversity and children's rights.

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Given that Taimei Elementary School is a state-funded institution, it's questionable why it would choose to implement such overpriced uniforms.

Similarly, Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said the school should have discussed the matter with parents before making the decision, reported news outlet NHK.

But parents of the students weren't on board with the new duds when they found out the prices.

The Armani uniform also came under attack in parliament Thursday.

'These uniforms are far more expensive that the suits I'm wearing, ' one commentator grumbled.

So, we can only imagine the confusion of students (and their parents) at a state school in Tokyo, who have been asked to swap their old school uniforms for Giorgio Armani-designed suits. You have to fork out money for school books, extra-curricular activities, sporting stuff and school uniforms, which, if you've got multiple kids at school at the same time, can be a serious drain on your finances.