In more and more classrooms found throughout America, students are avoiding the distractions of fickle fashion trends as they focus attention upon their lessons while wearing a uniform. That’s right, because an increasing amount of school districts nationwide are opting to implement a dress code. Two words that once could send shivers down kids’ spines.
School uniform sales are generating more revenue than ever before for certain retailers such as the popular department store J.C. Penney. In addition to carrying the IZOD label, this year the department store has for the first time decided to partner up with French Toast, a company that bills itself as “the Nike of school uniforms,” Daily Finance reports. Boasting 15% market share in the category, French Toast is one of the few companies currently involved in tracking school uniform trends.
“Demand for school uniforms grows every year as more schools adopt them as a safe, affordable wardrobe option,” Kate Coultas, J. C. Penney’s corporate communications senior manager, told the Daily Finance. And “given the current economic environment, value will continue to be top-of-mind for the moderate customer.”
She explains that most of the school uniform items carried by J.C. Penney happen to be the most affordable portion of its assortment of all back-to-school clothing.
“This is becoming a key business for us,” Coultas goes on to claim.
As for French Toast, that company expects to see 5% to 7% growth this back-to-school season in its school uniform sales, president of FrenchToast.com Michael Arking told Daily Finance.
School Uniforms Benefits
“Economically, parents are seeing the benefit of a school uniform,” Arking explains. “For $120, they can buy an entire French Toast wardrobe of about 11 clothing items.” That’s just one example. That economic price point enables parents to use their credit card to fund the sale without worrying about digging themselves into debt.
Perhaps even better than the ease and affordability of school uniforms is the fact that they eliminate “label competition,” says Arking.
Former president Bill Clinton, back in 1996, called for manuals about uniform policies to be distributed by the Federal Education Department to school districts throughout the country, helping to incite the dress code movement that has been steadily gaining momentum ever since.
The manuals claim that a school uniform policy can potentially reduce the violence that can erupt over expensive sneakers, designer clothing, and other such material products. It may also reduce peer pressure, restrict the wearing of gang-related clothing by gang members and possibly help students focus better on their work overall.
Recently mainstream movies like Harry Potter have contributed to popularizing the school uniform look, which opens up the opportunity for even dress codes to become, well, cool.