Checked or striped trousers with a plain shirt. Pinafores in colours such as lavender or ivory. Track pants and T-shirts as sports wear. It is a riot of colour and patterns that school uniforms have transformed to from the plain shades.

With a majority of schools having two to three uniforms, the colour and pattern of the attire play a major role in the personality of the students.

Though the school uniform season starts from April and goes on till June, retailers of the uniform material have already started marketing their wares at the schools. According to retailers, plain colours are passé.

The challenge is to introduce a comfortable fabric, with colours which stand out even after a long day. Ruling the market are checks and stripes, while pinafore dress is chosen for girls as they are hassle-free.

After experimenting with colours such as kakhi, blue and grey, Jaigopal Garodia Vivekananda Vidyalaya, Avadi, is introducing black grey and plain lavender top as its new dress code for boys and girls from the coming academic year.

“Our previous colours were either not standing out or used to get dirty easily, so we decided to bring in the change after going with the present colour for three years,” says Vijayam Shashi, Principal, Jaigopal Garodia Vivekanada Vidyalaya.

Similarly, schools such as GRT Mahalakshmi Vidyalaya are going for a colour change.

Some school managements say that once a selection of good colour and pattern is made, it should be the identity of the school for ever.

But, there are circumstances when one school is forced to change its dress code after it finds another school in the same vicinity with a similar shade or adopts a new pattern keeping the comfort factor of the child in mind.

While SBOA Primary school switched from the two-piece pinafore to a single dress last year, both Chettinad Vidyashram and Kumararani Meena Muthiah Matric Higher Secondary School are switching to divided skirts for girls from Class VI upwards.

“Many schools are also introducing track pants and T-shirt for sports activity for its functional value. Previously it was the same uniform that students used to play with,” says Dipesh Jain of Sugan Uniforms.

Sources in Mafatlal Industries, a major retailer of school uniform, say they have launched around 60 new colours this season and would be supplying 50 to 60 lakh metres to its retail outlets. Polyster cotton blend and yarn-dye fabric are some of the texture it is promoting.

As regards the cost, retailers say the price of the uniform material has increased by 5 to 15 per cent.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012

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