The Telegraph
Monday , September 3 , 2012
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Designs with a uniform code

Mahadevi Birla girls are all set to turn fashion designers, deciding on the the style, cut and texture of their school uniform.

The school authorities on Friday invited students of classes X, XI and XII to design new sets of uniform for classes V to VIII and IX to XII.

The students couldn’t have been happier. “This makes complete sense because it’s we students who wear the uniform round the year but we never had any say in deciding how it should be,” said Sanghamitra Aich, a Class XII student of fashion studies. “But the challenge for us is to make sure the design is practical, convenient and comfortable, besides being smart.”

The designs will be judged by a fashion designer and the best five will be awarded. “Once the students submit their designs, we will scan them and the best ones will be chosen as the uniform for the middle and senior schools, if the management approves,” said Malini Bhagat, principal, Mahadevi Birla Girls’ Higher Secondary School.

Students will have to submit two designs each, along with details such as colour and type of fabric, within two weeks. The designs will have to be drawn on white cartridge paper provided by the school.

“All relevant details must be specified. For example, if a student suggests a checked shirt as part of the uniform, she will have to specify whether it will be double checks or single checks,” said Atindra Chaudhury, teacher of fashion studies at the school. A sample of the recommended fabric will have to be attached as well.

Students of classes V to VIII now wear dark blue skirts with white and blue checked shirts, while senior school girls wear deep grey skirts with white and grey checked shirts.

The girls have in mind a host of fresh designs from waistcoat-shirts-trousers to pinafores over tops.

It’s not only students of fashion who are excited about the opportunity. “Every time our uniform changed, from junior to middle and senior sections, we would discuss what would have been better and now we can design it ourselves,” said Ayushi Bafna, a Class XI student of commerce. “We might not be good at drawing but we have ideas. We will ask the fashion studies teacher to help us with the drawing and execution part of it.”

But aren’t teachers apprehensive of low necklines and high hemlines? “I have given some specifications — no sleeveless dresses and nothing outlandish or garish. Keeping the city’s climate in mind, I have asked the girls to design something comfortable and wearable round the year,” Bhagat said. “This will also give students a sense of responsibility and belonging and generate healthy competition.”

The uniform isn’t the only thing changing at Mahadevi Birla, which will open its doors to boys from the 2013 academic session and get a new name as well. “The school is going through major changes and we thought of involving the girls in making the change rather than just be witnesses to it,” the principal said.