Additions to the existing uniform, changes in colour and attention to detail is on the cards for school uniforms

Constantly debated the subject of school uniforms may be, but no one contests the fact that these outfits are important, even linked to a school’s identity — be it at bus stops and railway stations or inter-school cultural fests and field trips.

This June, a number of city schools have decided to go forth and experiment, with ingenious additions to uniforms, changes in colour and ‘attention to detail’.

One school in fact has gone a step further — it has introduced overcoats for its teachers. Come June 3, 210 teachers of Kaligi Ranganathan Montford Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Perambur, will sport “earthy green” overcoats over their saris during school hours.

“We have given teachers two coats each that are meant to be worn all through school hours. The coat has two pockets with a monogram on the left side. Teachers don’t have to carry the coats back and forth — they can leave them on racks in schools,” said Anitha Daniel, headmistress of the school.

She said that at first, teachers were apprehensive at the thought of wearing such coats, but eventually took to the idea after a series of discussions. “This way, teachers can be more comfortable. They don’t have to be conscious that they are wearing a saree. When doctors can wear coats, why not teachers,” she asked.

Overcoats may not be the norm at all schools, but changing uniforms for students seems to be a growing trend.

Four other city schools are also in the process of incorporating changes to their uniforms. While a school in Choolai is changing its uniform colour from navy blue and white to green and white, another school in Mylapore will have new uniforms for students from kindergarten to class V.

Chennai Schools too, have caught on. The KG sections of 40 Corporation-run schools will get new uniforms, designed by National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Chennai. A Corporation official said they were working with NIFT to design uniforms for close to 3,000 students. “We wanted bright and colourful uniforms for the KG sections, something that distinguished them from students of higher classes,” an official said.

Sridhar Amanchy, assistant professor, department of knitwear design, NIFT, who has been involved in designing uniforms for several schools, said uniforms, involve research and planning.

“Though we add little design elements such as contrast cuffs and collars, and buttons with the name of the school embossed on it to set them apart, we also keep in mind that they have to be mass produced and affordable. At the research stage, we ensure that the colour of the uniform is not similar to that of a neighbourhood school. We also suggest classic colours to schools, so that they can use them over a period of time. Sometimes schools incorporate new elements to make the uniform more functional,” he said.

Dipesh Jain, partner at retail outlet Sugan Uniforms, said not many schools change uniforms as the outfits are the core of their identity. About the prices, he said there has been a 10 per cent jump in prices owing to rising input costs this year. The trend, he added, is now towards readymade uniforms.

“We started selling readymade uniforms two years ago, but the concept was new then. This year we are offering readymade uniforms only for boys,” he said.

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