Over the course of the Summer I've been asked to review several different brands of supermarket school uniforms. It's been a really interesting review process for me as I've been able to examine the difference between the quality, range, fit and price of the uniforms available in four of the main supermarkets.
In this review, I'm looking at the Fred & Florence school uniform range available from Tesco. I have bought quite a bit of clothing from Tesco in the past for The Boy and have always found it to be well made and hard wearing. Essentially I did feel that a polo shirt, trousers and sweatshirt made in Bangladesh or Kenya would surely be much the same as any other on the high street, and wasn't expecting anything outstanding or different to the other uniforms I've reviewed.
The website for the boys' uniform is very easy to navigate and allows for selection under type of clothing, size, colour or price. As a first-time uniform buyer, I was slightly bamboozled by the selection of trousers available, as they all seemed the same quality and style to me, sold singularly or in pairs. I ordered a few different styles of trousers, both pleat and flat fronted, and a two-pack of flat fronted shorts (which The Boy is wearing in the left picture below). The shorts (£5.00 for two pairs) are actually a 3-4yrs size, I was optimistic in hoping they'd fit him but very pleasantly surprised to discover that they did. With an adjustable waist which has been tightened, and a good length in the leg, these shorts are seeing him through the warmer days of Autumn and hopefully last into Spring. The material is soft and not scratchy, but strong and durable.
I was impressed with the polo shirts (£2.00 for two) as they actually 'hung' well on The Boy and were a good length. I am quite hopeful that they don't end up with twisting hems as I suspect one or two other brands may, and the colour is a nice bright tone. The unisex sweatshirt is amazing quality for £3.00 with ribbed cuffs and hems, and has a soft inside.
The trousers are well cut, a thick material and soft, and with a Teflon® fabric protector which "repels spills and releases ground in stains easily with laundering". The Boy hasn't come home yet with any in-ground dirt, so I can't comment on the repelling properties of the fabric, but they do wash and iron very well. And from £6.00 for two pairs, they are a competitive price.
However, while it would be easy to promote the wonders of the repellant fabric, and paint a picture of droplets of mud and paint flying off at all directions with the forcefield of the mighty Teflon® fabric protector, there is a more important feature that makes the Tesco school uniform stand out above any other material feature.
The 'Buy One Give One' trousers cost between £3.00-£6.00 for one pair. Slightly more expensive than the two-pair packs, but let's face it they are still cheaper than a frappuccino! However, the major selling point of these (and what I think Tesco should be promoting more than stain repellant fabric) is that for every item of uniform bought from this 'Buy One Give One' range, a complete school uniform will be donated to a child in Kenya, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.
Tesco launched the scheme in 2009 and provided 12,000 children in Kenya with a brand new school uniform to attend school with. In 2010, they expanded the scheme to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and have given away over 100,000 uniforms to children in these three countries. 100,000 children in some of the world's poorest countries had a new uniform because parents in Britain spent £1 more on their child's trousers.
Surely that is the most appealing factor in the Tesco school uniform?
I was provided with a voucher to purchase items from the school uniform range for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.
Tesco's Ethical Policy can be found here.