The pride of the hand-me-down school uniform

Trutex has adopted manufacturing processes which means its schoolwear can be handed down to younger siblings

With The Schoolwear Show just around the corner (Sunday, October 13 to Tuesday, October 15) and awareness of sustainability high on everyone’s agenda, one of the exhibitors Matthew Easter, managing director of Trutex, takes the opportunity to discuss the supplier’s new manufacturing processes.

Research from Wrap has found that six out of 10 youngsters go to class wearing pre-owned outfits. It seems that canny mums and dads are increasingly looking to give their children hand-me-down school uniforms rather than pay out for new clothing. And kids are not ashamed.

Awareness of sustainability, turning their backs on fast fashion and land fill fodder, has led school kids to happily embrace second hand pieces. The growing trend has led to us to apply manufacturing processes to ensure pieces outlast several owners.

The UK school uniform market is currently worth over £1 billion, which equals a lot of parent pennies going into precious school uniforms. However with the today’s pressure on manufacturers for value and sustainability in fashion, not cheap, poorly made, throw away items, uniform swap parties and get togethers are being added to the increasingly popular second hand uniform shop.

Mary Bowen, a mother of two from Leeds, said: “I buy good quality items for uniform whenever I can afford it as it makes financial and environmental sense.  Jumpers, cardigans and especially blazers which are expensive, have been passed from my eldest to the youngest which saves me far more money than if I’d repeatedly bought cheaper items which quickly fall apart.  It was my eldest who explained to me about the fast fashion industry, and that relates to uniforms too.  We’re trying to make a difference in small ways.”

Extending the lifespan of school uniforms isn’t just healthy for finances, it also promotes a healthy environment: the fast fashion industry is a huge global polluter. We are seeing items of Trutex uniforms exceeding the test of time going through one, two and even three siblings. We’re very aware of the popularity, and often real need, of hand-me-downs so we’ve created a variety of methods to increase the life of our uniforms.

Reinforced seams and collars, plus innovative stain resistant coatings using the latest technology, permanent creases, and the ability to alter sizes temporarily are some of the techniques used to give uniforms a longer than usual life.

Parents are turning their backs on cut-price high street offers which can fail to last a school term. Even popular website Mumsnet has an internet talkboard dominated by concerns that cheap, mass-produced, poor quality uniforms are a false economy.

Children spend more time in school uniform than in their own clothes. A poll for the Schoolwear Association showed the average child wears his or her uniform for 10 hours a day (1,500 hours a year), and it has to stand up to the rigours of everyday life.

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