The Benefits of School Uniforms: Leveling the Playing Field
Being in the clothing business, it’s our job to think about the things we wear and the effect that they have. One of our core beliefs is that school uniforms can help level the playing field between individuals with varied socioeconomic status. Every student wears a uniform so they can focus on things that actually matter instead of who has this month’s ‘in’ brand. Leveling the playing field is now central to our mission, however, this was not always the case.
In 1972, we started FlynnO’Hara because there was a lack of quality school uniform vendors. Many schools would use a local supplier, and we knew that by consolidating production for many schools, we could deliver higher quality more affordably. In the 70’s, we focused solely on value because that’s what mattered. Fashion in schools? It wasn’t really a thing back then.
Enter the 80’s which brought fashion and big hair to the mainstream. There were “cool” clothes and not cool clothes. There were designer labels and discount brands. You were either in or you were out based solely on your fashion choice. We still focused on value and quality, but something important began to emerge: school uniforms could be an agent of social change in the battle for socioeconomic equality. With a solid school uniform policy in place:
– Students aren’t segmented into artificial groups or peer pressured based on the clothes they wear
– Schools can reduce wardrobe-based bullying
– Parents have an easier morning and an easier back-to-school shopping experience
– Schools enjoy better visibility in the community
We truly believe that a school uniform policy is the right decision for the majority of K-12 communities, and there are very few (if any) drawbacks to a school uniform policy. Students are happier. Parents are happier. Schools are happier. It’s very hard to get schools, parents, and students to agree on anything, but school uniforms seem to be that thing. We’re happier, too: we do this because every student deserves a quality education that is free of avoidable issues. Fashion battles, label one-upsmanship: these are eminently avoidable. And we’re proud to be a part of this change.