(KFDX/KJTL) — School uniforms are a growing trend in classrooms nationwide and it’s changing the way many families do their back-to-school shopping. Retailers are taking notice, and trying to cash in.
Natalie Morales has been doing some homework on the subject, bringing us this report.
More than 40% of public schools and pre-schools now require uniforms. With some 26% of US students wearing them last year. That number up 18% from a decade earlier.
Besides eliminating the stress of deciding what to wear each morning, some parents say outfitting their children in uniforms helps them save money.
Morales asks: Are uniforms more cost-effective for parents?
Mom: Probably, considering you just buy five of the same thing and you’ve got your outfit.
School officials say uniforms help even the playing field for students. Allowing them to feel like part of a team, focusing on learning, instead of fashion.
“Having consistent uniforms, it really gives children the opportunity to wake up in the morning and get prepared for school and not worry about how they’re gonna be looked at or how they’re going to be judged,” says Chase Hardin, Director of operations at ABC Montessori School.
Retailers are taking notice, supplying the increasing demand.
Morales asks: How have you seen this change JC Penny’s business when it comes to back to school shopping?
“I think it’s been rampant. When I first started with the company, of course it was just mainly your catholic schools that were in uniforms. It really wasn’t the public schools at that point. So I mean from then to now it’s a huge change,” says Joe Cardemone, JC Penney employee.
JC Penney is not the only retailer to break into the one-billion-dollar-a-year market. Walmart, Target, and Amazon are all now selling their own brands of polo shirts, pleated skirts and khakis for children as young as two. Meanwhile, Old Navy has created “uniform hubs” in all 1,100 of its US stores.
The schools really let us know what colors they need and what fabrics they want. Even performance polos now. The athletic-type feel, which is great. That’s what the kids are looking for,” says Cardemone.
Parents and retailers are adapting to a new school of thought on classroom attire. Now not everyone is on board with the idea of school uniforms. Some critics argue they don’t allow children to express themselves in an important way, but some parents allow their kids to spend a little extra on accessories like colorful backpacks and fun shoes and sneakers to express their individuality.