BANGKOK (Reuters) – In Thai classrooms, showing a rebellious or creative streak through what you wear is difficult.
School uniform rules are strict, down to how pupils’ hair should be cut and the type of socks and shoes they are allowed to wear.
But as students around the country push back against what they call archaic rules and join a broader pro-democracy movement, a young clothing designer is throwing his support behind them in a colourful way.
Tin Tunsopon has taken the typical uniform of pleated skirts and white sailor shirts for girls and neat shorts and white shirts for boys and blown them up into exaggerated versions with huge collars and sleeve ruffles made from shoe laces.
“By re-creating these uniforms and giving them various designs…people can see that we should no longer be attached to the (traditional) uniforms anymore,” 23-year-old Tin told Reuters.
The clothing line labeled the ‘rule breakers’ was launched in collaboration with the Wacoal lingerie brand in June with prices ranging from $100 to a top end of $475, for a long pleat skirt with a big bow.
Tin said they are designed for “modern day girls, who are not afraid to express themselves and move with confidence”.
“The uniforms break away from the traditional forms, although still resembles a uniform … I want to support kids to be as creative as they can,” said Tin
Tin has named his label ‘Post-Thesis’, a nod to his graduation project at Bangkok University, where he examined the purpose of uniforms and how they can be changed.
The rebellious movement sweeping through Thai high schools has been dubbed “Bad Student” by its leaders. Students have worn white ribbons, publicly hacked off their hair and made “Hunger Games” salutes in a bid to shake up the country’s rigid education system.
(Writing by Ed Davies; editing by Jane Wardell)