Tokyo state school criticised for switching student uniforms to £525 Armani outfit

The principal of the school is sticking with his decision 

Chelsea Ritschel
in New York
Friday 09 February 2018 22:15 GMT
The Taimei Elementary School replaced school uniforms with Armani outfits (Getty stock images)
The Taimei Elementary School replaced school uniforms with Armani outfits (Getty stock images)

A state school in Tokyo is facing criticism after announcing its decision to swap old school uniforms in favour of ones designed by Giorgio Armani.

Located in the upscale Ginza district, a fashionable neighbourhood in Japan, the Taimei Elementary School wanted new uniforms that would reflect the school’s status as a “landmark” in Ginza, which the school explained in a letter to parents, according to Huffington Post Japan.

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

According to Huffington Post Japan, the new designer uniforms would cost parents a whopping 80,000 yen (£525, $730) - three times the amount of the previous uniforms.

And while the price does include a hat and a bag, parents were quick to complain.

One parent told Huffington Post Japan: “I was surprised. Why has a luxury brand design been chosen as the uniform of a public elementary school?”

“Why Armani?” asked another parent, according to the local education board.

As Taimei is a state-funded school, many are confused as to why the school would choose such overpriced uniforms.

Taimei Elementary school has switched out old uniforms for Armani ones

And although school uniforms are technically considered optional in Japan, they are generally worn to develop a sense of school identity.

But by choosing these pricey uniforms, the elementary school has parents worried about the ramifications of being unable to afford the uniform - and what it would mean for their child to show up to school without it.

On Twitter, one person pointed out: "I heard that school uniforms were originally invented so kids from different income families wouldn't face discrimination.”

The Taimei Elementary School is located in the upscale Ginza district, close to the Armani store

The backlash over the Armani school uniforms eventually reached the House of Representatives' Budget Committee, where Party of Hope lawmaker Manabu Terada noted the new uniforms were more expensive than business suits for adults, and said, as Taimei is a state-funded school “a certain range (regarding parents' financial burden) needs to be considered," according to Kyodo News.

However, despite the criticisms, it looks like Taimei students will be dressed in Armani come spring.

According to Kyodo News, principal Toshitsugu Wada told the school board that he “will humbly accept criticisms that there was not enough explanation,” but the old uniform is no longer being produced.

The Armani uniforms are set to be introduced in April.

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