Thom Browne brings high fashion to school uniforms The Thom Browne Spring 2016 collection is modeled during Fashion Week Monday Sept. 14, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
Thom Browne brings high fashion to school uniforms
Lexile

When most people look at a school uniform, they see something, well, uniform, as in, boring. Isn't that the point?
 
Not in Thom Browne's hands, it isn't. At his runway show Sept. 13, the designer took the simple image of a Japanese schoolgirl's uniform and transformed it into a strange but enticing world - as pretty much only he can do.
 
Browne is known for both his craftsmanship and his showmanship, and thus no one was surprised when they entered a gallery in New York to see that the designer had constructed a one-room schoolhouse (recent collections have been set in a 19th-century English hospital, and a cathedral).  There were rows of chairs, and a black composition notebook neatly placed at each one.
 
Then came the "students." Each model wore a pleated skirt and blazer but the workmanship on those "uniforms" was intricate, with different patterns embroidered on both skirt and jacket, and each outfit was wholly unique. There were pinstripes, floral patterns, gingham, and seersucker. Color schemes started with shades of gray but moved on to black-and-white, and pastels like mint green and lavender.
 
Then there was the hair, which doubtless would get a reprimand (or at least a hard look) from a strict headmistress: two starched braids, sticking straight up from the head into the air, and framed by fabulous (and topless) boater hats by master milliner Stephen Jones.
 
The students marched slowly, deliberately, around the schoolhouse and then entered it, one by one, and took seats. Finally, a "teacher" arrived, and she looked like a bride - or a Kabuki actor, fully veiled and dressed in a long, tiered white linen skirt and an overcoat in white fur. She took her place at the head of the classroom, rapped on the table, and then Browne came out to take his bow.
 
But the "students" stayed in place in their classroom, and observers rushed forward to photograph them up close as they stood, motionless.
 
Sticking out from under the schoolhouse, unnoticed at first, were a pair of men's feet, a la "Wizard of Oz." Who knows where that man figured into the story.
 
Backstage, Browne explained that the whole show was based on one thing: that generic school uniform. "That was the reason for all the pleated skirts," he said, "but also, I almost wanted to play with people not knowing what was right side up and what was upside down."
 
A concise explanation - but when your clothes are that intricately crafted, they speak for themselves.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What makes these designs impractical for school?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (51)
  • emilyn-pla
    9/22/2015 - 08:18 p.m.

    I think it is good that Thom Browne is spicing up the school uniform that everyone hates. Schools will not appreciate the new patterns because it probably would distract students from their learning. It is a really cool idea but definitely something I wouldn't wear.Its a modern twist on an old tradition but I don't think schools would allow them in class.

  • heatherv-lam
    9/23/2015 - 09:51 a.m.

    I think it's an interesting idea to make school uniforms more exciting, but I have some concerns. These are clearly pretty high-end fashion uniforms and I doubt most families will be able to afford them. Also I think it would be an easy distraction in schools.

  • abigailh-lam
    9/23/2015 - 12:02 p.m.

    I really like how he put a spin on something boring. Sometimes that is hard to do. I agree with emilyn-pla when she says that schools would probably not allow this, but maybe schools would let students wear patterns or something to spice up their uniforms. I'm glad that I'm lucky enough to not wear uniforms though.

  • emmaw1-lam
    9/23/2015 - 02:33 p.m.

    I think it is really important for children and teens to be able to express themselves and their feelings through their appearance. Thom Browne's vision is really neat and should be more popular.

  • kristeno-pla
    9/23/2015 - 06:59 p.m.

    Thom Browne decided to change up the cliche school-girl and add a twist to it. He created new outfits that are embroidered in different patterns on both the skirt and the jacket of each outfit. He also didn't have a traditional runway, instead he had a traditional classroom set up with desks for each of the individualized 'students' to sit at. I can connect to this, mostly because Neenah is a huge school where there are a lot of students. And a lot of students wear things that are totally different from what the person right next to them is wearing.

  • saraho1-lam
    9/23/2015 - 08:33 p.m.

    These designs are impractical for school because they so, at least I think, out of the ordinary. I think that if I had to wear the outfits described, I would be embarrassed until I got used to it. I think that Thom Browne has a good idea of changing up the school uniforms although, I think he is taking it to an extreme.

  • miral-6-bar
    9/24/2015 - 04:53 p.m.

    Yes, these designs are a little extreme for school and not as functional as a basic uniform... but i feel as if they are great because if students are being confined to a certain wardrobe, they should at least be able to wear something stylish!

  • natalier-4-bar
    9/24/2015 - 11:18 p.m.

    These designs are impractical for school because they are high fashion based on a school uniform. Even thought the clothes followed the style of a classic school uniform, the pleaded skirts Thom Browne still played around with colors and patters that would never be used on a school uniform like a mint green color or floral pattern. The outfits were also over the top and abstract that no school would even dream of having there student be seen in those clothes.

    Opinion: I thought this article was super interesting because I find it so interesting that a designer can take a very simple idea and make it so abstract and turn it into a work of art.

  • nidab-1-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:46 a.m.

    These designs are impractical for school because they are too distracting. The point of a uniform is for everyone to feel included, but to also keep you focused on school rather than clothes. These designs would be the only thing people thought about, and work wouldn't get done.

  • reannef-2-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:48 a.m.

    The uniforms would be expensive and would require a lot of time to put on. Plus, the flower print does not quite make sense for a school girl to wear if they want the uniform to look basic. I like the idea, but not the idea that these could be uniforms for school. I think if they wanted it to be something you wanted schools to use as uniforms, it should be a bit neater and have less prints everywhere.

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