Design : Consult : Manufacture

The Hazards of Going with the Wrong Uniform Designers

The Hazards of Going with the Wrong Uniform Designers

With the benefits of school uniforms established, you now need to find a designer.

That’s a challenge as well. Choosing the wrong designer can lead to you losing money. Plus, it can result in you receiving uniforms that aren’t fit for purpose.

Meriden school experienced this issue…

Focus Uniforms began working with Meriden in 1992. The school had its centenary coming up in 1994. And they wanted a new uniform to commemorate the occasion.

All went well at first. Focus created a great uniform that completely revitalised the students’ aesthetic.

However, the school then appointed a new member to their board. This new member decided to shun Focus and go with a star designer. That proved to be their undoing.

Uniforms need to look the part. However, they also need to offer comfort and practicality. Students may spend 8 or 10 hours per day, 5 days per week in their uniform.

A designer needs to accommodate this.

That’s not what Meriden’s uniform designer did. They created uniforms that looked great but failed when introduced into the school. They simply weren’t hardy or comfortable enough. And the fabrics used didn’t suit the demands of the school environment.

Interestingly, the school’s enrolments dropped soon after. They fell from 800 students to 600, with the new uniforms being partly to blame.

The school eventually chose to redesign the uniforms with Focus in 1994. And they’ve worked with Focus ever since. This story highlights the importance of selecting the right uniform designers.

Now, you need the answer to one question:

How do you find the right designer? Here are a few tips:

Go for Experience over Trendiness.

In Meriden’s case, a desire for a designer label swayed them. They went with a designer who hadn’t made school uniforms before. And they paid for it with uncomfortable uniforms and declining enrolment numbers.

There’s an art involved in creating a great school uniform. Make sure your designer understands the practical requirements as well as the aesthetic ones.

Examine the Supplier’s Previous Work

Any supplier will try to make a sales pitch to get you on board.

As a consumer, you need to look beyond that. The best way to do this is to examine the supplier’s previous body of work. Ask the supplier for examples of schools that they’ve worked with in the past. Where possible, try to get references so you can talk to the schools the supplier has already worked with.

This will help you to determine if the supplier can deliver on its promises.

Focus on the Design Phase

Ideally, you’ll take an involved role in the design phase.

A great uniform designer doesn’t just create whatever they feel like. They’ll work with you to find out what you want to achieve with your uniform. They’ll collaborate to come up with ideas. And they’ll aim to provide a uniform that satisfies your school's needs rather than their creative instincts.

Be wary of any designer that doesn’t involve you in the planning stages. Otherwise, you may end up with a uniform that isn’t fit for the purpose.

Question the Designer’s Choices

As Meriden discovered, fabric choices play a huge role in a uniform’s success. The wrong choices can cause all sorts of issues.

Quiz your designer about why they’ve made certain choices. Ask them why specific fabrics suit school uniforms when others don’t.

A great designer will educate you throughout the process. Be wary of any that try to avoid your questions.

A Uniform Can Benefit Your School

The evidence is there for all to see. Introducing a school uniform can have massive benefits for your school. These include:

  • Improvements in enrolment numbers.
  • Greater self-confidence for your students.
  • Improved discipline, which leads to better student outcomes.
  • The ability to retain your most talented teachers.

And many more.

What’s key is that you work with a designer that can meet your school’s needs.

That’s where Focus Uniforms comes in. We work together with clients to create attractive and practical school uniform designs.

Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion about your needs.