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Chinese women are wearing school uniforms from other countries as the return of preparation goes global

The preppy style takes on a different look in China, where the outfit should look as realistic as possible. Veriby/Bangkok Post

  • As preppy style makes a global comeback, the trend takes on a different form in China.

  • Chinese women have been wearing school uniforms from other countries, dressing them up for fun.

  • Unlike the style of posing in other venues, they want their fake uniforms to be as realistic as possible.

Preppy fashion is making a comeback globally, but it never really took off in China.

By the early 1900s, in both Europe and America, the style was seen as a status symbol. According to InStyle, it was often worn by the wealthy who attended prep and Ivy League schools.

According to Harper’s Bazaar, the fashion trend is making a comeback as it was recently seen in several design collections at the 2023 Fashion Week.

But women in China have a different opinion about style. Instead of incorporating little pieces into their own wardrobes, they’re putting together sets of fake school outfits from other countries that look as authentic as possible.

The “JK uniform”, where “JK” stands for “Joshi Kousei” – high school student in Japanese – is one of the most popular fashion trends in China.

The hashtag #JKuniform has been viewed more than 1.7 billion times on Weibo, China’s top social media platform. And there are currently over 50,000 JK fashion pieces being sold on Taobao, China’s largest online retailer.

The JK uniform is inspired by actual Japanese school uniforms, which can be divided into two patterns – sailor suits and western styles.

Sailor style (left) and Western style (right) are distinctive features in Japanese school uniforms, but both are equally popular. Wolfgang Kehler / Satoshi-K / Getty Images

A short-sleeved white blouse with a sailor collar and a handkerchief bow or tie are the defining features of the Japanese school uniform of a sailor suit, while the Western style is characterized by a plaid pleated skirt, sweater vest, and a blazer.

Both genres are equally popular in China, where the interest can be attributed to the huge popularity of both Japanese anime, where many of the main characters are high schoolers, and Japanese idol culture. Many J-Idols sport school outfits as a concept.

It is mostly adult females who have been seen in JK uniforms, most likely because Chinese girls still receiving schooling are required to wear their actual school uniforms.

school uniform japanese in china

Both the western style (left) and the sailor suit (right) are popular among Chinese women.

Unlike preppy style in other places, where certain elements are incorporated into one piece to create a collegiate-inspired look, Chinese women want their entire outfit to look as realistic and school-like as possible.

Small variations are fine, but hardcore JK uniform enthusiasts looking for that authentic Japanese high school girl look usually avoid outfits with inaccurate details.

And the country’s obsession with authentic preppy fashion goes well beyond Japanese school uniforms.

Earlier this month, a single social media post started a new trend of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand wearing their own set of actual Thai school uniforms and taking pictures.

On February 18, Chinese celebrity Xu Jing-yi posted a series of photos of herself in Thai school uniform on Weibo, starting the trend. As of March 31, the post has received over 1 million likes and over 942,000 shares.

Since then, according to Nikkei Asia, Chinese customers, most of whom are women in their 20s, have been visiting a school uniform store in Bangkok almost every day to buy uniforms to dress up for photos.


Chinese celebrity Xu Jing-Yi (left) sparked a trend with her social media post, prompting Chinese tourists (right) to do the same. Xu Jingyi via Weibo/Bangkok Post

“This is the first time in the 60 years since our establishment that we have received so much attention,” said Yenjit Atsawprichawong, owner of school uniform store Shrifun, per Nikkei Asia.

The trend has also caught the attention of Thailand’s Ministry of Education, which has been very supportive.

According to the Bangkok Post, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education, “I saw from online posts that the students had their names embroidered on their shirts. It’s cute and beautiful and doesn’t do any harm.”

According to the Bangkok Post, the trend had an earlier rendition inspired by the Thai teen romantic comedy “First Love”, which faded during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the original article on Insider


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