Uniforms have a major presence in schools. New Zealand takes after Great Britain, where uniforms are standard procedure for every student who attends the school. Macleans College pushes a large emphasis on uniforms. Mr Hargreaves has been seen around the school calling out students for their etiquette. However, the question at hand is not whether uniforms are necessary or not, but moreover what are the clothes we are wearing for over thirty hours a day? What are they made out of?

All of the uniform shirts, skirts, and shorts are made from the exact same formula. Every single one of them; including the white performance shirt. They are all made from 65% polyester and 35% cotton. But what does that even mean?

Polyester is popular because it’s tough, durable, long lasting and made for everyday wear. It’s not soft at all. It instead gives a feeling of plastic, widely regarded amongst students as ‘cardboard.’ This is because polyester is simply made from a type of plastic, one called polyethylene terephthalate. That’s where polyester got its name from. It’s not breathable or an absorbing fabric either and therefore, students have to cope whenever it’s a hot summer day.

On the other hand, cotton is a fabric known for its softness and also durability. It’s been a popular fabric throughout history, as it was naturally sourced from cotton farms and fields. There was a lack of technology back then. However, even though cotton is organic it doesn’t mean there are chemicals poured into the cotton to ensure it’s usable for wear. But, an inevitable con of cotton is that it simply has no structure and is incredibly easy to wrinkle a lot of the time. Not a great look for a formal shirt.

Though polyester is the main material used throughout the entirety of Macleans uniform lineup, some certain pieces of uniform are a combination of other things. The navy pants are made out of 65% polyester and 35% viscose. Viscose is a lesser known fabric, but it’s similar to cotton.

While cotton is sourced from one exclusive plant called cotton bolls, viscose is able to be sourced from multiple types of plants. This is because viscose is made from the pulp of trees or sugarcane, meaning it has a wide diversity of choice. Like cotton, even though it is sourced naturally the chemicals are still heavily added on to make it a fabric. Viscose is a lightweight fabric that is quite thin and breathable, most of the time good for summer times. However, in the navy pants it is used as the internal pockets and lining against the polyester. Personally, I find them quite comfortable to wear.

During the winter period, many students find themselves wearing the Macleans jumper. As jackets are not allowed inside, it’s the best many of us can cope with. The school jumper is made out of 80% wool and 20% nylon. 

Wool originates from the wool of sheep, which already is regarded as high quality. Still, many simply dislike the texture of it on their bare skin; it is also quite ineffective at trapping heat. After a period of wear, the wool begins to clump up into little balls, making it look aesthetically unappealing. On top of that, when the wool comes in contact with water or more specifically the rain, it gives off an unappetizing smell. 

Nylon is also a fabric that is chemically produced, usually found in pantyhose or stockings, they’re usually made or used to have a stretchy effect to pull things together.

Another combination to combat the winter coldness would be the scarf, one that is widely beloved to many. The scarf is also made out of 80% wool and 20% nylon, meaning the texture is similar to the jumper. You unfortunately cannot wear it inside like the jacket.

Speaking about jackets, they’re much more efficient at conserving heat than the jumper. Although the tag claims to have a nylon outer and a polyester lining, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. 

If you’re privileged enough to be bestowed with a blazer and tie, you’d fid it to be more comfortable than the average shirt or pants. The Macleans blazer is surprisingly made out of 45% wool and 55% polyester. Even though polyester is the dominant fabric, the smooth wool of the blazer makes it a little more comfortable to wear. However, many students have regarded the blazer to be similar to the jumper. The wool aspect of the blazer does not capture any heat at all, and many advise to put at least a jumper underneath it. 

The tie that accompanies the blazer is made out of 100% polyester.

It really seemed like Macleans College designed these uniforms to be durable enough to last an entire five years, excluding the shirt respectively. Majority of the clothing is made from polyester, the only garment that doesn’t have a dominant fabric as polyester is the jumper. With these types of materials in our uniform, who knows how long these will last? After all, plastics are incredibly hard to biodegrade.

25th June, 2023
Emma Li

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