The Oracle sent a survey to the student body asking to submit their opinions regarding Archer’s new uniforms. 230 students responded—101 from middle school and 127 from upper school.
The survey asked respondents to scale each clothing article 1 to 5. Archer pants received the lowest score with 86 students attributing them a “1,” and the Archer polo achieved the highest score with 106 students giving it a “5.” Though there was a clear majority in these scaling questions, when asked what clothing articles they would replace if possible, the responses were divided among shorts, skirts, pants and sweaters.
At the end of the survey, students were allowed to add additional commentary. Many of those who disclosed their opinions had similar beliefs: numerous students said they wanted the old sweatshirts returned and also believed Archer’s rules regarding socks should be dissolved. A student offered her reasoning as to why the sweatshirts should be brought back: “It is too cold not to wear them. Especially for athletes who don’t want to wear knit, confining sweaters.”
Multiple Archer girls asserted that the uniform policies need to be more lenient. An Archer senior remarked “[club shirts should be allowed because they] show more of the diversity of interests at Archer… Also they would serve potentially as walking billboards (for lack of a less colloquial term) to prospective parents showcasing the different school organizations their daughters could participate in.” Another student disagreed: “there are so many uniform options, we don’t look like we go to the same school.”
Some students at Archer have stronger opinions—regarding not the uniforms specifically—but the company producing them. Riel Macklem, a senior at Archer, recently started a petition at change.org called “Lands’ End: Make Our Uniforms At Home.”
In the petition Macklem writes that the “Lands’ End ‘Made in Bangladesh’ tag burns a hole in the back of my neck. Bangladesh isn’t the only manufacturing center for my Lands’ End school items: I have tags labeled ‘Cambodia,’ ‘Vietnam,’ ‘China,’ and more.”
Macklem references the tragic event when a garment factory collapsed outside Dhaka, Bangladesh and killed 1,129 workers. She, along with the 108 other supporters who signed the petition thus far, ask that Lands’ End allow clothing production in countries that meet U.S. safety standards and humanitarian norms. User “S Mott” from Decatur, Georgia, commented on the petition: “It’s eye opening. I’m inspired that a young lady started this. Let’s hear it for her generation.”
Archer Dean of Students Gretchen Warner commented, “The move to Lands’ End uniforms has been a well-received and positive change for our community. Though Lands’ End has made a commitment to a ‘made in the USA’ initiative, I share Riel’s disappointment that this does not yet extend to their school uniform division. I am proud of Riel for taking action and advocating change, and I hope that her petition will inspire Lands’ End to more quickly move in the direction of having all their clothing manufactured in the United States or in countries with fair labor practices.”