KOCHI: The season is here. With the summer vacations ending, the students are readying to get back to school. To get over the reopening blues, the school market offers a variety of items, including the latest style in bags and boxes. Express takes a look at the sales and trends of the season.
An average school student must have at least three pairs of school uniform of the same design to be worn regularly and a sports uniform to be worn during PT days. However, the uniformity is null when it coming to the prices, which varies according to several factors like the material and the stature of the school. This is also a time when parents feel pressured by the lack of availability of the cloth and increasing prices. The overall price, starting from the cost of the cloth to its stitching amounts around Rs 3,000 to 4,000, which is uneconomic for a working-class family.
“Over the years, the changing uniforms meant more money and time. Therefore, I suggest schools implement khadi as their uniform dress code, like the government institutions. Khadi has government subsidy and is economical compared to other materials,” said Satish Kumar, a parent. Meanwhile, many school managements have made it mandatory to buy uniform from the school itself, which brings a huge profit to the management.
Getting a new schoolbag can sometimes be a back-breaking ordeal for parents with the many vibrant options to choose from. “Back in my school days, I used to use my school bag for at least two years. But now, this whole school-reopening purchase season has become a mandatory custom every year,” says an attendant at a local bag store in Broadway.
Schoolbags have been undergone a great deal of innovation in both style and utility, the recent ones coming with rain covers and water-resistance technology. Rain covers come installed in the bottom compartment of these bags and can be withdrawn during the rain to cover the entire bag.
Bags have been designed to be more body friendly with wide shoulder pads and trolley wheels that help put the load off the shoulders. vibrant designs and cartoon graphics are a market-defining factor when it comes to the more tender-aged schoolers. Some bag producers have even stepped up their game with multiple flip designs and LED lights. Meanwhile, teenagers and young adults are after the more costlier brands such as Wildcraft, Skybags, Adidas, Nike, etc for their slim appearance and style.
Long gone are the days when children used to go mad around name stickers with the fanfare slowly dying away. “Cartoons have always fantasized children. The superheroes of cartoons invariably find their way to the name slips. Girls prefer Barbie dolls, Frozen characters and film stars whereas boys go for sports players, sports cars and bikes but over the years it’s seeing a downtrend with the coming of schools promoting their own name slips “, said Deepa Anil, purchase head, St Francis De Sales Press in Broadway.
While most of the younger kids prefer glossy photographs, the elder ones like it plain and simple. “Compared to the last two-three years, the sale of school stationery items is down,” said Sam C Uthup owner of CC Uthup Stores. The recent trends of schools providing stationary items with the school logo and also the practice of coercing parents to purchase items from selected vendors suggested by schools have affected the business adversely. CBSE had in the last few years issued a circular asking the school authorities to desist from continuing such unhealthy practices. The sales picked up considerably after this.
(With inputs from Rahul Satish, Sajin C Abraham, Rufus Sunny, Sreelakshmi Prakash, Samuel James, Aparna George)