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)
  • sidraa-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:50 a.m.

    This article shows how easily a boring, old, generic uniform, can turn into a unique one with your own character! Although Thom Browne made these beautiful illusions of uniforms, that's only just what they are - illusions. Unfortunately, uniforms today are under a very strict policy and cannot be changed or "unfollowed." However, students around the world can always make a difference.

  • mikaylam-1-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:51 a.m.

    I think that Browne did an amazing job when it came to changing people's perspective about the average school uniform. Showing how something so plain and simple can be transformed into something so unique is the work of an amazing designer. Although these uniforms are very popular and creative thanks to Browne they would be considered quite impractical for school. The point of uniforms is for nobody to feel ashamed of their image and to keep distractions to a minimum, so two braids sticking out of your head, different patterned blazers and skirts, and hats are a bit of a distraction for the students.

  • valentynas-1-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:51 a.m.

    These designs are impractical for school because it is against all what uniforms stand for. Uniforms are worn to prevent certain distractions such as clothing, so if such unique pieces are worn by students, that could cause judgments and ranking of the students. Students would judge the uniforms worn by others by design, brand, style... everything. Uniforms are so similar to construct unity, not ranking students of who has the best uniform or who has the most expensive uniform, otherwise it may as well be a normal school with normal clothing.

  • nadinen-1-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:52 a.m.

    These designs would be impractical because they would not be seen as professional of "leader" worthy. Im sure these clothes were also very expensive to make and would cost a lot to buy. I don't see anyone wearing these anywhere else besides the fashion show, let alone school.

  • annieh-1-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:56 a.m.

    When I get older I want to be a fashion designer as well. I think that it is very cool how Tom Browne is taking regular boring uniforms and is embellishing them and transforming them into something more.

  • baileyb-4-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:56 a.m.

    I have to wear school uniforms for my school, and I hate it. It is kind of funny thought that people can make uniforms look really strange and interesting. Or they can take the idea of something and totally flip it upside down.

  • ryanp-1-glo
    9/28/2015 - 07:57 a.m.

    These designs are impractical for school because although they are unique and creative, uniforms were made for students to only focus on their schoolwork and not how they dress for school. Students would be more focused on what they would wear each day and the designs on the uniform might distract them. -Ryan Payne

  • cameronw-2-glo
    9/28/2015 - 11:28 a.m.

    These designs could be impractical for school because uniforms are meant for everyone to be exactly the same and everyone in the fashion show had a different outfit with many individual designs. Some people may say that the designs are distracting to other students' learning. Since the designer is well known and designs high-end fashion, the clothing would most likely be very expensive and the average parent would not be able to afford the intricate uniforms.

  • erins-3-glo
    9/28/2015 - 11:31 a.m.

    The designs are impractical school because they are all unique and the whole idea of a school uniform is to make everyone look the same. I do, however, think that the idea is cool because you can make your own unique style shine through in a way that isn't distracting and covers uniform guidelines. Of course, though, you will have to leave the upside down braids at home.

  • katiev-1-glo
    9/28/2015 - 11:35 a.m.

    The designs were impractical for school because of how they varied in design. This makes them pointless because that defeats the purpose of a uniform. We wear uniforms to "level the playing field" and lessen the distractions in the classroom. If they varied in their designs there could still be distractions.

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