- Yutaka Sawada / © PIXTA / © The Huffington Post Japan, Ltd. / © Taimei Elementary School / © Giorgio Armani S.p.A. / © The Huffington Post Japan, Ltd.
- Armani / criticism / designer uniform / elite school / elitism / Expensive / Fashion / fashionable / Ginza / Giorgio Armani / Japanese school / Letter / luxury brand / school principal / School Uniform / Taimei Elementary School
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Taimei Elementary School, an elite public school situated in Tokyo's posh neighborhood of Ginza, just minutes away from fancy department stores and luxury brand shops, is suddenly in the news today, as reports have surfaced concerning the principal's sudden decision to replace the school's existing uniforms with a new version designed by luxury Italian fashion brand Armani.
As reported by Huffington Post, Principal Tokuji Wada attempted to justify the uniform change in a rambling letter to parents dated November 30, 2017. Wada complained that "students have strayed from my image of the ideal Taimei Elementary School student." He also added: "I want students to study at Taimei Elementary School while feeling their connection to Ginza (... but) I am afraid that this awareness is fading away (...) Ginza is changing as it heads towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It is searching for the new while retaining the old. So is Taimei Elementary School (...) I decided to change the standard uniform to Armani in the hope of creating an awareness of being a Ginza school." As an added benefit, "cultivating a visual identity is part of 'sartorial education' which is essential in cultivating people who are prepared for the future."
Wada also revealed in the letter that he initially contacted Armani over three years ago to begin the negotiation. Parents, on the other hand, were only officially informed in September 2017.
Reaction to the news on Twitter was mostly critical:
---"Looks like there's a controversy about some school principal arbitrarily deciding to introduce an Armani school uniform costing 90,000 JPY but I heard that school uniforms were originally invented so that kids from families with different incomes wouldn't be discriminated... I guess these days it's turned into something that just displays (what school) you belong to."
---"School uniform by Armani? I was wondering which private school it was. I can't believe it's a public school. If it's an elementary school, they might have to buy a new one every year. I don't know if I should say this but there's something wrong with his head. Apparently, it's the principal's arbitrary decision but the Board of Education has nothing to say? It's a public school, so anyone should be able to attend. It would be really stupid if someone had to change schools because they couldn't afford the uniform."
Assuming everything goes according to Principal Wada's current plan, students will begin wearing the new uniforms in April at the beginning of the 2018 academic year.