Tokyo school criticized for Armani uniforms


The Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo has come under fire for considering implementing a dress code by Italian fashion brand Giorgio Armani.

"I was surprised, and wondered why such luxury brand-designed uniforms have been picked for a public elementary school", one unnamed mother, whose child is going to start school in April, told the Huffington Post.

While students are not obligated to wear the uniform, it could cause segregation amongst students from different financial backgrounds.

Government education officials are not pleased with the school's change in uniform. The board instructed the school to decide the matter after sufficient talks with the Parent Teacher Association and local residents.

Opposition lawmaker Manabu Terada even raised the issue during a parliamentary session, questioning the logic of such an expensive uniform at a public school with students from a range of backgrounds.

The school says the designer uniforms are an attempt to tie the 150-year-old school to the affluent Ginza district, which is also home to Armani's flagship Ginza Tower store.

Finance Minister Taro Aso agreed that it could "be severe if a student cannot afford to pay" for the expensive outfits. "It would be severe if a student can not afford to pay it".

The principal said the current school clothing is no longer being produced, leading the board to conclude that the changeover could not be postponed.

Education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said the ministry will consider taking steps so that the burden placed on parents to purchase uniforms "would not be excessive".

According to the school website, Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo's Chuo Ward was established in 1878 and attended by Japanese writer Toson Shimazaki.

Toshitsugu Wada wrote: "With humility, I take the criticism that explanation has been insufficient and not well-timed". "I was humbled by the complaints about the lack of explanation and the belated announcement, and I will put my best effort to properly explain it (to gain understanding)".