In what has been a most challenging year, Schoolblazer is proud to celebrate its achievements and those of its team with the successful launch of a brand-new look for Eastbourne College.
Two years ago, Schoolblazer were invited to tender for a brief of uniform provision for 350 pupils in the lower school at Eastbourne College, comprising years 9-11.
Included in the brief was a desire to really connect the uniform with the college’s stunning location between the sea and the South Downs. The brief included a clear description that an Eastbourne College student should be: “good people that other people want to be with”. The college also wanted the uniform to be classic and timeless, reflecting their traditional but forward-thinking values. Schoolblazer were appointed after an extensive tender process involving seven potential suppliers. Cris Symes, the Second Master, commented “Schoolblazer were the obvious choice for Eastbourne College as they clearly demonstrated the flair and passion to deliver our vision”. Schoolblazer’s design team set to work designing mood boards and discussing ideas and materials that would be the ideal choice to match the brief.
The buying team worked hard to source materials, fabrics and garments that would work well. Our schools team ran focus groups with staff, parents and pupils to get their feedback on sample garments and materials. Eastbourne College included a great attention detail in their requirements and added input on decisions which are sometimes considered smaller, such as semi-cutaway collars and cufflink cuffs on the shirts; this enabled us to work to a precise set of requirements quickly and efficiently. Central to the final brief was a desire for an “Ivy League” look to match the ethos and surroundings. A classic chino was proposed, twinned with a tailored blazer and fitted jacket for girls, knitted tie and a bespoke padded outerwear jacket.
The chinos presented a significant challenge. There are good reasons why cotton chinos are not often found in school uniform: they fade, are difficult to iron and are not durable.
However, our buying team were up for the challenge: they worked closely with one of the leading Japanese textile suppliers to develop a “Performance Cotton” fabric. This has a cotton outer shell wrapped around an inner-core of polyester. The cotton gives the comfort and classic chino look whilst the polyester gives durability and colour stability. It also makes the garments easier to iron which is vital. We have used this technology with great success in our shirts and blouses for many years so know it performs well, but still undertook a thorough programme of testing to ensure the new chino fabric would withstand the rigours of school life.
There are some other very interesting garments in the Eastbourne College uniform. The Senior Blazer has gold piping to the French-faced lining, to match the crest on the outside, made by our specialist tailoring factory which is also used by many well-known, designer brands. For the first time ever in a Schoolblazer uniform, we included knitted ties, which add another distinctive layer to the Eastbourne College uniform.
We also feature a scoop neck or round neck jumper instead of the more traditional V-neck school jumper. In addition, there is a girls-fit chino option, where girls can choose between skirts and trousers.
In a normal year, Schoolblazer would present the new uniform in a fashion show, enabling parents and pupils to see the uniform in all its glory. 2020 was not without its challenges in this way! As a fashion show was not possible under the circumstances, we decided to do a photoshoot with models from the same family, to ensure the shoot was COVID-secure. The photographer kept his distance and we were able to capture the new uniform in its home location, by the sea in Eastbourne.
The end result is a unique, unusual and beautiful uniform, which we believe allows students to represent Eastbourne College with pride. Second Master Cris Symes sent this message to Schoolblazer...
“Our sincerest thanks and congratulations regarding our new uniform project. I have received only positive comments about what we have achieved together in terms of concept, design and the quality of the finished article. It is everything we hoped for.”
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