A scene like this is very typical in most of the small villages I visited in Peru.


What’s the future of traditional Peruvian style when the educated class of the youngest generations are dressed to attend an  English boarding school?


Apparently this uniform (only seems to vary in the color of the cardigan) was passed into law in 1968.


Does a government have a responsibility to preserve some cultural identity or is it more important to prepare the children for globalization?


I know these are very big and complicated questions but I just feel like there must be a way to prepare for globaization (it seems useless to fight it)  while still maintaining some local expression.




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  1. Shade of Red Blog

    April 24, 2014 at 10:05 am

  2. Francois

    April 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

    “(it seems useless to fight it)” in a way you’re doing it by showing your pictures of Peru. Keep it up.

    • The Sartorialist

      April 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

      yes, I hope the outside world ,but also local government, protects the beauty of traditional Peruvian style

  3. Archana

    April 24, 2014 at 10:32 am

    They do this in lots of countries. India too. I never considered uniform as a hinderance to wearing traditional clothes. But a way to equal the wide gap in social status of students attending school. After we turned 15, we never had to wear uniform again. We skipped the childish phase where hello kitty and princess clothing were prevalent and jumped into more mature current fashion. In a way, it did us good.

    • Romina

      April 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      I always understood it more like what you are explaining “a way to equal the wide gap in social status of students”.
      Never thought of school clothes being something you chose or identified with specially, only something practical…
      but this new perspective is interesting too. A big question, as the article says.

  4. Michael

    April 24, 2014 at 10:34 am

    So, in the future everyone in Peru will be dressed like Harry Potter…..?

    It could be worse. After all, we do not pine away for the days of fig leaves and bare feet.

  5. Mark Williams

    April 24, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Peruvian culture is strong…the native Peruvians who are from small villages that I know personally look like you and I (that is more western), but their heart is with their homeland. Conformity dictates function. They might even dress more “local” because clothing is less of a lofted expectation of style and more an exercise in comfort than it is in more developed areas.

    I think (social) economics plays a large part in whether a country can become more global or western–I think more rural people would have to sacrifice quite a bit to keep up with the rest of the world. The tried-and-true ways of existing within a culture are hard to beat if they are more economical–Levis are for those that have the resources to acquire them–a pair of pants that fit do the job.

  6. Clotilde

    April 24, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Two things:

    - the first one is that, as you know it, uniforms in schools are there to give the impression that all those kids are the same, richer or poorer. Sometimes it is best for the kids. I agree that we could imagine a uniform with a a local twist.

    - the second is our responsability: we too often propagate the idea that our western civilization is the only acceptable one, the only “bankable” one. The executive and the financial worlds don’t let much room to diversity, imagination and originality.
    If you want to be taken seriously, you have to stick to a protocol, including clothing. It’s our creation, and it’s difficult for southern governments to go against these rules, we don’t give them a chance.

  7. Cool Never Fades

    April 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Scott, you raise an interesting question. But the history of humans, reveals that a strong culture including style always will survive – maybe not as large or as complete as it once was – but elements of it do survive.

    Second, never doubt how strong the desire is for individual expression. Where did all of the Mao Jackets in China go?

    On the other hand, elements of style are always being absorbed by one culture from another. For example, how did the Bowler become such a popular hat for women in parts of Latin America?

  8. Karen

    April 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Hi Scott, school uniforms are worn all over the world by a lot of cultures with their own style identities. These cultures have strong traditions. When kids get home, believe me they don’t keep the uniforms on. Sometimes they don’t even wait until they get home, they bring a change with them. Once they’re in their own clothes they bring back the style in their own individual way. Sometimes the uniforms and the attempt to make people conform actually makes people want to express their own individuality more on their own time. It would make a great photographic series; at school and after school. I loved the Peru series! The colors and patterns in those shots are amazing! In any culture our parents and grandparents generations will not let us forget our heritage. We should be thankful for them and keep passing this on to the next generations.

    • Annelise

      April 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Agree completely. You can always count on youths to individualize or localize school uniforms (or anything else forced on them by parents/institutions/etc.). I believe in human agency.

      • Karen

        April 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        Spot on Annelise. This is a bit off the style topic but have you seen the documentary “The Human Scale” featuring Gehl Architects? They look at growth in cities around the world and how following the model of Western cities may not work for all countries and cultures. They also complete studies and make recommendations to make cities more people friendly, include more public space and public transit while reducing dependency on the car. It’s really worth a watch!

  9. Samantha

    April 24, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Globalization of clothing is ancient! Look at the Silk Road, etc. So is class distinction through clothing. Look at all the historic examples, including the forced style adaptations of the former British Empire, or figures such as Lawrence of Arabia adopting the reverse. Asking the question of Peru, is asking it of India, Africa… And your photos of ‘indigenous’ market women in their button-front cardigans also show global influence and adaptation. If you really want answers re Peru, contact Annie Hurlbut, the anthropologist founder of The Peruvian Connection. http://www.peruvianconnection.com/

  10. EGG

    April 24, 2014 at 10:59 am

    The same happens in most Latin American countries. The origin of the law has rather to do with the social and economical differences: the uniform works as a mask to make poorer and richer look more or less alike. At least this is the theory. Of course it doesn’ t really work.

  11. Derrick J Mathews

    April 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I would think Scott that it must be quite hard for the government. To bring Peru into the 21C, increase it’s economic growth and make it a modern society, enabling its youth to fulfil their potential and compete on a level playing field with their international peers may mean that there is a focus on the modern rather than the cultural history. There is perhaps also the question of peer pressure that in some way a standard uniform may help with, “We all look the same so we all fit in and label mania may be reduced”.
    I would have faith in the young people who at a stage in their lives will ensure that the rich cultural history and dress is celebrated and held in esteem. International visitors such as yourself and tourists can through their images show that we value the rich cultural as a source of interest, revenue and reason for visiting Peru.
    Well that’s my tuppence worth but love the images so thank you for sharing

    Bonne Chance


  12. debbie

    April 24, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I don’t find anything wrong with uniforms for school children in any country. It’s an equalizer of sorts and allows kids to concentrate on their education vs. fashion issues. Nobody feels slighted or embarrassed by not being able to dress like wealthier kids. They can wear their jeans, t-shirts, sshorts, skirts, whatever, after school and on weekends to express their individuality and/or local customs.

  13. Maria

    April 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Scott I´m Peruvian. I love your photos and your admiration of our culture, but you show only the small village of Cusco and you don´t show others places where Peru is totally globalizade. In this small village the people are very poor and this uniform is the only thing that they have. The goverment has the guilt, maybe. But Peru have many things that you can saw.

    • LĂ©onore

      April 25, 2014 at 9:31 am

      I totally agree with Maria. I spent some time in Peru and one thing is sure, most young people in smaller or larger cities (even in some villages) dress the occidental way. It is also true for countries such as Bolivia and Ecuador.

      • onbogotástreets

        April 29, 2014 at 10:55 pm

        And Colombia. It’s absurd to try to keep the traditional way of dressing in the 21 th century!! Even the “western” world doesn’t dress the way it used to.. I could tell Scott to dress the way the native amercians did.. It’s the same way the dress code had changed in Latinoamerica.. tradition is not stopping. is moving forward.. visit any place in Latinoamerica and you will see 90% of people wearing occidental clothes.. we’re in 2014, pleeease!

        • LĂ©onore

          May 2, 2014 at 3:47 am

          Well said!

  14. SweetFreckles

    April 24, 2014 at 11:33 am

  15. Joao

    April 24, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I perfectly understand your comment about globalization, but I also believe this particular question is referring to another issue which is transversal to all Latin America: egalitarian education which according to their vision on the subject obliges the use of uniform. Unfortunately no one has thought about creating a regional uniform and simply adopted the former european colonial model.

  16. haapi

    April 24, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Great question.
    I like a 3rd alternative, and that is to discreetly incorporate a national element into the uniform. The ties, for example, could be woven/embroidered. The girls could use some woven ribbon as a belt or head band, etc. Just a little touch to reflect their culture within the greater framework of the “standard” uniform of globalization.
    Looking forward to hearing more replies on this one!

  17. TeMo

    April 24, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for this! It is something I have been thinking about for years.

    It is PoCo Eco – Post Colonial Ecology. You see it nearly all over the world. I taught in SE Asia, it was there. I am in Kenya now it is here too. I am working on a design collaboration with Maasai women. Incorporating traditional Maasai design into contemporary fashion.

    One of our future projects is to design school uniforms that incorporate Indigenous designs. I don’t think globalization has to equal homogeneity. The beauty of adornment, clothing, fashion is the diversity – ditto the beauty of humanity.

  18. Claire

    April 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

    How is wearing uniforms a way to prepare one to globalisation ? Isn’t it much more important today to keep a sense of identity (be it Peruvian or American) rather than desperetaly trying to fit in a prescribed and predefined image ?

  19. Helen

    April 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    School uniforms are not just for British boarding schools – most kids in the UK wear them, as well as many other countries around the world, including third world countries. They are actually a great way to level the playing field so kids of all income levels look similar. It makes clothing your kids affordable and simple. Does this really cause the decline of traditional costumes? I’m not so sure.

  20. Dean

    April 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Let the Peruvians be the Peruvians. School uniforms aside, individuals should dictate their own style.

  21. Pam

    April 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Your image is indeed thought provoking. It looks rather surprising, in a way, to have all of the young students dressed in uniforms like this. Very traditional and conforming. Usually discipline is the aim, as a benefit to learning, and to keep order in the classrooms. Plus it removes the appearance of competition for the “right fashion” look. However, I bet the minute they get home the clothes are changed for something more personal, and that is probably jeans and t-shirts. Another “uniform”. Lets hope the ancient appreciation of color and personal adornment will still be a part of their creative souls.

    • Judith

      April 24, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      I grew up in Lima hearing all the time that those color combinations were ugly. Unfortunately, Peru is a very racist country.
      That is why I was so happy when I saw here these beautiful clothes and comments full of appreciation. Let’s hope opinions like Scott’s help “the other peruvians” appreciate our
      wonderful heritage.

  22. Jay Ka

    April 24, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I grew up in India and every school has a a certain Uniform. I never once thought ill of it. Always wore it with pride. Maybe if we were allowed to wear what ever we wanted the culture in schools would have been more like who wore what instead of focussing on education. I dont see it as a hinderence to being fashionable or having your own fashion sense in any way. India is a very fashionable country with a lot of diversity and every single one of us grew up wearing a uniform :)

  23. Cece

    April 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    As a teacher, for thirty years, I am in favor of uniforms. For many, many reasons.

  24. Michael

    April 24, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    The comments above should clarify your question, Scott, but one more thing: Peruvians are no more “local” than New Yorkers, and they too live in the year 2014. While the maintenance (or as often, revival) of traditional dress is an exciting thing, it doesn’t necessarily reflect a given contemporary culture any better than a pair of jeans would. It’s not the traveller’s place to prefer kurtas or kimonos to those jeans, just as it’s not a man’s place to expect women to wear skirts (even if we find them beautiful, or alluring).

    • Sonia

      May 23, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Beautifully said

  25. Naima

    April 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    You raise an interesting point. While it may seem starnge that schoolkids in Peru are dressed the same way as schoolkids of the UK. However, as it has been said here a few times, uniforms are put in place to place everyone on a level playing field. This is a global phenomenon, from Latin America, to Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. I don’t believe this has an impact on people’s identities, though it may indeed prepare them for the kind of corporate wear that might be expected of them in the future.
    Perhaps school uniforms should reflect local culture. This, of course, would require a local textile industry that caters to these customised uniforms. (because right now, who knows where these clothes are coming from?) The cultural and economic outcomes could be very interesting.

  26. Fabian

    April 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Bloody Americans and their cultural ignorance. Schools uniform do not affect personal style, it only guarantees order and egalitarism within the academic context.

    • The Sartorialist

      April 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      Fabian said
      uniforms “guarantees order and egalitarism”

      Really? it guarantees order?

      I don’t think so

      • M.

        April 25, 2014 at 12:15 am

        It is not the job of gov’t to be be involved in how people dress! Traditional costume is on its way out but these uniforms are not the reason. If these boys were not dressed like this they would be wearing saggy jeans or whatever they could get their hands on that looks good in pop culture, which is ubiquitous.

        The school uniform is good idea for all the reasons listed above. Education is what is important and I’m glad they are getting one.

      • M.

        April 25, 2014 at 12:17 am

        They don’t guarantee it, but probably they help.

      • Catherine

        April 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm

        I wore a uniform the three years I went to Catholic school and hated it as did we all but, the idea that somehow a uniorm is an imposition o western values or a culture squasher is just silly. Oftentimes for poorer village kids, this is the one decent outfit they own and their mothers work hard to keep it meticulously clean and pressed. Also, the trashy stuff our American kids wear is the stuff they’re brainwashed into buying by the same companies that don’t give a flip about the textile workers that barely eke out a living sewing the stuff they then sell for ridiculous profit. It doesn’t reach the level of a grunt let alone true self-expression. You’re usually much more savvy than this, Scott. Maybe you’re spending too much time in the trendy parts of NYC and should get out more to see how the rest of us live.

        • The Sartorialist

          April 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

          I think the variety of locations I’ve shot images in over the last 8 years shows that I have seen how much of the world lives.

      • Kevin Hogan

        May 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm

        While a uniform does not guarantee order I believe it does foster group cohesion which, in turn, enables concentrated and effective activity. It is part of socialization process that exposes individuals to the experience of the group. This is a good thing. This does’t mean that you are forcing all into the faceless one, only that the individual understands the dynamics, values and uses of the group as a component of their social awareness. The necessary second component of this personal freedom, something which was never recognized in the Mao jacket or the burqa.

  27. Nini Piccola

    April 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    In many countries school uniforms are about equality and not about aspiring to look like a posh British school student. Great photos by the way!

  28. Lisa

    April 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Hear, hear!

  29. Ninotschka

    April 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Very interesting… Maybe we should take a look at languages, because with them we really do have kind of the same problem… A lot languages (especially smaller ones, specifically and sadly the ones in regions with a colonial history) are already dead or dying (which means, there are only a few – mostly old – speakers). If a language dies, a whole culture dies with it. In some cases, there is no hope… Scientist are at most trying to document some words, sounds, grammatic structures from the last speakers. In other cases there are interesting projects, that try to preserve languages as part of a living culture. There is a project in Australia where old narrators are telling stories from their culture in in their language to younger people. It should be like this with clothes, too, I guess. Passing cultural techniques and knowledge is a holistic challenge. It’s about passing a really wide range of techniques of crafting clothes, the meanings of pattern and ways of dressing – to name just a few tasks. There should be places for passing this, but it shouldn’t be museums – you can’t keep cultures against cultural shifts. Historico-cultural specifics should be understood as something unique and something to embrace and something, that should have a special and maybe protected part in cultural diversity. It should have a place next to the knowledge, that we all need in a globalized world.

  30. Milly

    April 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Never mind the style! Think about practicality! I wore that uniform for years when attending school in a town with an average temperature of 25C; the long skirt plus the knee high socks were a torture!!!!

  31. Pinker Please

    April 24, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    My three daughters wear school uniform here in Marbella. I am in favour of them for many reasons. Out of the school everybody can wear whatever they want to express their individuality!

  32. Chinwagge

    April 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    The shot is gorgeous. There’s a romantic feel to it. I find it interesting because the topic of the uniform has been on my mind a lot recently. I just wrote a post about it on my blog a couple of days ago. http://chinwagge.com/working-9-5/

    Sart, I understand the point you’re making but I don’t think cultural integrity will ever trump the power of the “colonial mentality”. Fela wrote a whole song about it. There are school children dressed like this across the globe. Not sure that will ever change.

  33. BIG

    April 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    In the first place, I would like to come come forward and say that I´m a urban-European descendant-middle class Peruvian, so that you can judge my opinions in terms of my background, in case you think such a thing is a relevant criteria in order to judge my sayings.
    In the first place I think it is a bit naive to attribute dressing such a weight when it comes to define cultural or ethnic identities. Do Europeans dress as they did a hundred years ago? I think not. Culture is a fluid and ductile thing. There´s not such a thing as a pure culture, everything is “contaminated”. Demanding “native” people to remain the same as they were forever is ridiculous. It is the same as not to aknowlage the fact that they are as complex human beings as you are. You cannot protect them from globalization. That would be a bit patronizing, to say the least. They have to make their own choices in the same way as everyne does. The world´s not a fair place.
    On the other hand, what nowadays is considered to by the typical outfits in the Andean region is in fact a very Mediterranean style. Or do you actually believe people dressed that way during the Inca Empire…? Those fabrics and that entire fashion were introduced in the late 18th century after the Borbonic reforms were implemented by the Spanish Crown in Peru. The Spanish wanted to broaden their markets so as to benefit their home textile industry. People in the Andes were obliged to buy such products by an ominous institution called the “reparticiones”. So it´s not precisely a fairy tale… In fact, one could even argue that typical outfits are a symbol of opression and colonialism.
    The idea of everybody using the same school uniform was born in a very specific historical context. This law was passed at the begining of the only leftist military government in Peruvian history. General Velasco wanted to bring social justice in a country characterized by its endemic racism, social inequality and social exclusion. His idea was to make us all equal. In that sense, he was as naive as the author of this note. Such a gesture was indeed symbolic and therefore worthy, but it was obviously not nearly enaugh.
    One cannot undermine the complex historical and social processes Peru (as any ther country) has undergonein order to pass a proper judgement.

    • Julia

      April 26, 2014 at 4:52 am

      Very interesting, I never know about the origins of these outfits. Thank you for pointing that out.

    • k

      April 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Finally someone explain the real history behind those uniforms! Thanks.

  34. Camila

    April 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I am Ecuadorian, so I´m goint to talk about my country since it is what I know. The one thing I can tell you is that uniform´s main function is to show equality and discipline among the students more than showing the social position of the students or the school itself
    It is true that some small towns might look like stuck in the past, but they are also part of the present we are living and they have the luck of enjoying the perks of globalization as well as the chance to be close to their roots and tradition and the bonds between people and their culture are stronger than it seems.

    In Ecuador, the same school in a little town that demands a uniform also teaches quichua (the indigenous language in the Ecuadorian Andes) and gives lessons about their history and cultural heritage.
    Even though clothes and style might be the most external manifestation of culture, tradition and national or regional identity, it is not the only parameter to measure how close people is to their cultural heritage.
    Nowadays you can see al around the world Otavalo (a city in the north of Ecuador) indians, wearing western clothes but keeping their traditional braid, or just have a total western style but selling knit handicrafts they have made following the traditional procedures. And that migt be the case of many other communities al around the world. Today you can be in any part of the globe, and it is up to you to represent your identity through clothes, food, music, literature, traditions or simply by showing the rest of the world how nice the people of your country is by a good behavior. Globalization is not only about taking western culture to other regions, it is also the chance to show the rest of the world what each nation has in many different ways.

    I´m really happy to see that you have devolped an interest in the preservation of cultural identity, specially when it is reflected such as beautiful fashion as the one seen in the Andean region is. I´m glad to see that a personality as well known as you are, takes time to see the hidden beauty of this region, and aldo, I´m happy you made this questions, because it helps to go deep in the knowledge we have about the culture of the world.

  35. Enui

    April 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I used to look like that too when I attended a catholic school run by nuns in Spain. When I didn’t have to wear it anymore I missed it: it was nice not to have to think what to wear five out of seven days a week.
    Today there’s no way I’d wear a skirt every day.

  36. Harpy

    April 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I mean, Japanese kids wear Western-style uniform to school. I would even argue that some of those uniforms are even more boring than English boarding school style uniforms. Japanese people can also be very fashionable at the same time, so I don’t see the problem here. Your opinion actually seems like very Western-centric thinking.

  37. Teresa

    April 24, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Let’s get serious…aren’t we all wearing “Zara’s uniform” worldwide?

  38. Solange

    April 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Absolutely, this is just one of the many expressions of the lack of preservation of the local identity around the world. As a Peruvian, I can tell you that these situations come from long ago, from an irregular procedure of stablishment for a national identity after the independence, and many other social factors. It proves the importance of embrace and not standardize. The descentralization is a task that many of us are aware, including the current government.

  39. Luisa

    April 24, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    This applies to many Asian countries, especially Korea and Japan. I have some experience in Korea, and all schools, literally all schools, require uniforms. I frankly completely disagree with this idea because it doesn’t develop individuality. I noticed how korean students, girls, only wear the skirts, and vans, with socks. This “style” really is shown by every student there.

  40. milex

    April 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    awwwwwwwwwww I don’t know what to say first time in ages!

  41. Lola O

    April 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Beautiful shot. I echo the sentiments of many of the other commentators in that the uniform is probably a positive force in these kids lives because it spares them from having to compete and hides whatever income disparity may be at play. Children world wide wear these types of uniforms, it’s a part of the legacy of colonialism and likely here to stay. I’ve been thinking about the allure of The Uniform a lot lately, as you can see from this post from a couple of day ago.

  42. Etoile

    April 24, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    That’s the whole point of globalization: the destruction of creativity and critical thinking, to create a generation of automatons to serve the oligarchy. A return to feudalism under a police state.
    Yes, sad times. Look beyond the immediate. The government is intent upon destroying public education in the US, it is part of a much larger picture. Put the pieces together.

  43. Benji

    April 24, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I’m not sure the uniform should be the focus in education. Personal style and fashion develops and brews during formative years and often at that age, students won’t have the means or ability to express themselves through choice of dress. Take that pressure out of the equation and it creates better environment to focus on the purpose in which they are attending school, to learn and progress.

  44. P

    April 24, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    i cant exactly put into english words why i dont like posts like this. Posts that seem to try” to understand and be polite, humble and kind ,while talking down in a lot of things at the same time, in a way, that the one writing does not even perceive it (being scott o whoever). This constant attempt to understand “foreing” realities, other people s realities, from one s point of view is always….cut”, biased, not…i cant explain it. Its a White western (occidental) educated(?) middle class to ..point of view. it is what it is. It echoes in the attempt of romanticizing poverty or human dignity, when fantasizing that man in marruecos had cut the sleeves to look better. Looking better is an option/priority/obsession only in certain parts of the world, which of course DOESNt have ANYTHING to do with people s dignity, poised, grace and more, which also doesNT have to do with money (or lack of) . again, its people who know VERY Little about what they are talking about, theorizing about it. Real far away from any truth involving the matter. Soy sudamericana. Here we have uniforms too, they arent all tie&sweater. The thing that we all look english really disgusted me. What do kids in nyc wear when in schools that have uniforms?

    • sarah

      April 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      P- I think you put that into words very well. Thanks for your thoughts.

  45. lisa

    April 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    This is just clothes they wear while at school. I bet most kids shown go home and put on whatever they want/have to wear for the remainder of the day. We are living internationally and my kids are required to wear a uniform to school and that’s what they do. While it might limit self and cultural expression for a time, I don’t think it kills it. And the school my children go to encourage creativity and cultural individuality. It sounds to me like you are assuming the kids are being trained to think a certain way just because of the clothes.

  46. i

    April 25, 2014 at 1:18 am

    There is no solid “cultural identity” to “preserve”. I believe culture should be seen as something that is fluid and constantly created and negotiated.

    It also seems funny to talk about “preparing” for globalization. Globalization has been going on for centuries (although one may argue it is becoming increasingly accelerated). As BIG pointed out earlier, the clothing you consider local and traditional is actually a product of globalization.

  47. Adiyam

    April 25, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Love that you’re showing things from a real perspective :)


  48. manu

    April 25, 2014 at 4:10 am

    hi scott, im peruvian, and i response i read a lot of very obscure and bad comments about it, the uniform (i used one too when i was a child) responds to a single thing: to make all the kids look alike and by this prevent the “who has better clothes” or “my dad is rich and yours poor so im using this brand and you didnt”, and it works because with this little thing we can avoid and prevent so kind of “fashion race”, thanks!

    • Hrld

      April 27, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      manu, apparently Scott has this naive idea that these kids go home, take off their uniforms and then wear the “traditional peruvian style clothes” all day long. Well, that’s so absurd. Let’s be honest, these kids have the same style of any other indian, brazilian, chilean, etc. kid. They wear what their idolized pop stars, rock stars, (whatever you want to call it) are trending, so I don’t see why this is been exaggerated. Here in Bolivia the uniform is worn for the same reasons you exposed, and it really works. Scott woould have to be worried more about what happens with globalization outside schools than uniforms.

  49. Lito

    April 25, 2014 at 4:31 am

    I don’t agree with you, Scott. this is FALSE problem. school uniforms are part of their colonial legacy and that is also part of their cultural identity. your definition of identity is very much essentialist and static…besides that I love your photos!

  50. Maggie

    April 25, 2014 at 7:16 am

    A uniform just makes life easier for the children and parents.

  51. Les Fleurs

    April 25, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Authenticity is not fixed. Do we raise the same questions about education or medicine?
    Tradition changes, evolves and adapts with the times, it’s more robust than you allow for.

  52. Rebecca

    April 25, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Following from Teresa’s comment, it’s a bit rich for us Westerners in our Zara uniforms to complain when the locals don’t look exotic enough. And as P said, it’s patronising for us Westerners to decide what’s authentic Peruvian style and what’s not. Peruvian kids wearing a uniform which looks English boarding school to Western eyes is the least of the globalisation-driven issues they will face in the future. Any uniform is an imposition; public school uniforms are generally imposed for the greater good and this one is pretty inoffensive. At least compared to my kids’ uniforms, which make them look like they’re training for jail and is very levelling indeed.

  53. Patricia

    April 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Speaking of preserving local culture, why aren’t some of the models indigenous? Maybe instead of working so hard on making sure that globalization doesn’t invade Peru, we should work a little harder on having Peru invade global culture.

  54. JIDB

    April 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Scott, how is wearing uniforms a way to prepare one to globalisation ? School uniforms do not affect personal style, it only guarantees order and egalitarism within the academic context. I really like your work but this blog post has no sense at all…..

    • Martine

      April 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      They will grow up wearing western clothing, so they will not grow up wearing their traditional clothing, like you see pictured by others in Peru in earlier pictures.
      I am sure that after wearing slacks, cardigans and white shirts their young lives, wearing the bowler hats, extremely colorful embroiders skirts and pants such that their elders wear will seem foolish to them. I think its pretty obvious.

    • The Sartorialist

      April 27, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      for JIDB
      you can’t be serious that uniforms “guarantees order and egalitarism”

      sorry but to to say that a uniform will “guarantee” anything makes no sense at all. Do you really think students are that dumb or that fashion is the only thing that creates division between students? These kids all live very close to each other in very small villages so putting on a uniform does’t hide anything.

  55. RosaMaria

    April 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I have mixed opinions on cultural dress.
    These days you will find a lot of young people around the world have access to western media and therefore are influenced by the fashion. So while in the past fashions may have been borrowed by different cultures, I don’t think we have ever seen it at this rate of speed.

    Should we want pockets of cultural dress to stay the same because if gives us something interesting to look at? when it seems that often it works against those peoples, as far as them being able to take advantage of opportunities because they don’t fit into the modern scheme.
    It would be wonderful if we all had a more open mind/appreciation of culture and style.
    Why do we want them to stay dressing the same and yet we go look at your site to see what everyone will be wearing next season so we can update our wardrobe?

  56. Kathleen

    April 25, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    “Seems useless to fight it?” I thought fighting it was one of the missions of your blog??!!

    In my opinion, homogeneity and mediocrity – the generica that results from corporate replication – are worth fighting the world over. And I think you are quite confused on this issue. School uniforms offer children a safe haven of simplicity and clarity and some protection from corporate logos and brands and peer pressure to wear designer labels during a time in their lives when they are developing their own sense of style. Children are vulnerable and targets of heavy marketing dollars, even in some less developed countries. School uniforms can balance that.

  57. Martine

    April 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    You can’t demand that these kids dress in quaint exotic clothing to suit our idea of maintaining cultural identity. I doubt they want to.

    • The Sartorialist

      April 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      you’re right ! these drab uniforms pictured above are a much better choice, and by the way the Peruvian government does demand it.

      • martine

        May 4, 2014 at 10:23 pm

        I understand that the government demands they wear unis. At least, I do now that you told it to me. Well, the government can demand such things of its citizens.
        I don’t know about better. I never said better, because I don’t know which is better, exactly. I just don’t believe if I asked those kids how they want to dress they would say “exactly like mom, dad, and grandma”

  58. leĂłn

    April 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Yes I think governments should force citizens, or better said, subjects to wear traditional colorful cloths to please urban western appetite for exoticism when touring the world, but this measure to promote aesthetic diversity would only apply to contries with GDP below 15000 US dollars…maybe to Texas, I love cowboy hats…

    • The Sartorialist

      April 27, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      I don’t think you thought through your comment very well, it sounds mean to call people of an area “subjects” and people shouldn’t dress to make other people happy.

      • Louise

        April 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm

        He was being sarcastic (and rather clever), I think.

  59. Martin LCCVII

    April 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Hi, I am from Peru. I think school uniforms are awful and horrible, nevertheless I think their are not an important factor in loosing identity. All cultures around the world are changing constantly (cultures are not static). Take a look to Japan, a modern country with a strong identity, always taking elements from western cultures and adapting them to their own reality.
    In Peru there are other facts that are weakening local cultures: televisiĂłn, tourisms, global companies established in their territories (malls, banks, mining, etc.). But the main factor is when people feel ashamed of their own roots: many young people watch the capital city’s way of life, the consumption, their fashion, and tastes and they want the to have the same things or look like them. There is even a resentment against their own culture when they are discriminated. So discrimination/racism, colonization (assymetric relations) and a weak identity are the main killers of local cultures. Racism has many subtle ways…even when you see a “native” as a picturesque thing and not like a human being, you are committing racism.
    An example: Once I asked a Jibaro native from the Amazon jungle if he felt he was aculturating in Lima. He told me: “Just because I use a blue-jean it doesn´t mean i´ll stop being a Jibaro”. So strong identity and pride of roots is the key (fathers and school have much to do), not so much the cloth.

  60. Minty

    April 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I love your photos, but please stop with the social commentary. What seems to be an attempt at being deep and thoughtful, just comes across as patronizing. What to you expect people outside of the USA to do? Wear their traditional dress day in and day out, and make their decisions based solely on how to preserve their “local expression” ? And you are the one to decide what such a local expression constitutes?

    • The Sartorialist

      April 27, 2014 at 11:12 pm


      “make their decisions based solely on how to preserve their “local expression” ”

      Where did I say that? I think you’re reading things that aren’t there.

      “you are the one to decide what such a local expression constitutes?”

      where did I say that I should decide anything? I was merely asking a few questions.

  61. loli

    April 25, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    It seems a little silly that comment to me. I am Uruguayan.

    I would worry more about all other clothes rather than school uniforms like these.
    All fashion blogs, even yours take photos to people around the world all dressed the same.
    Every girl in the world that has cropped t-shirt and denim jeans, wayfarers and a little back pack .. just an example.. the same fashion editor in every fashion week, or somebody in Calcuta that dresses the same.

    Is just so boring.

    • The Sartorialist

      April 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      thank you?

  62. Kate

    April 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    As an educator, I think there is some validity to school uniforms especially in places with a variety of socio-economic situations. There can be a lot of financial pressure to provide your child with clothes that will help them “fit in”. Uniforms neutralize that. And of course, creativity and imagination still exists within the child regardless of what they are wearing, where they live or go to school. In fact, through restraint has come some incredible innovation. I would be curious to explore how many fashion designers and artists wore school uniforms as children.

    • Abigail

      April 28, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      We live in Australia and my adult daughter is a fashion designer. She wore a school uniform all her life. Loved it! Most of the world wears school uniforms. I think Americans don’t realize that.

    • P

      April 28, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      I reply the same to a Scott s post above. U know it cos u are part of the thing, I wore uniforms too. I tried to explain that to S, and im sure any psychologist is gonna agree with us. U can fight that opression” (of having to wear something u didnt choose) and turn into a rebel, strong individual with hardcore fashion sense. (And dont even let me get into the value of knowing some styles of clothing and use that into later grown up life”.. public schools here also have uniforms, although its a single piece of clothing..)

      besides, in my (nuns) school we were allowed to design our uniform for the last year. and i m a fashion designer now, and guess what, that was fun, and creativity-encouraging!

  63. Candice

    April 25, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I am finishing my dissertation research on another aspect of Peruvian culture and its intersection with the modern (licit and illicit) global economy. As The Sartorialist has helped sustain me through this entire doctoral process, it has been a delight to see these wonderful photos! A fitting end to a long journey.

    With Peru as one of the fastest-growing economies in South America, what has amazed me has been the devotion of the Quechua, Aymara and other largely Inca-descended peoples to maintaining customs and rituals despite a changing environment. It may not always be obvious – as in the display of heritage and group membership through clothing – but it is there in sacred and non-sacred rituals, view of life, pace of life and, especially, food! Any of the most current restaurants on the lively Lima restaurant scene have wonderful new takes on traditional foods.

    Thanks again for this series!

  64. Jose Orihuela

    April 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I think globalization doesn’t excludes preserve traditions. Fortunately not all children in peruvian highlands are obliged to wear the ugly grey uniform, I took this picture in the school of a small town near Huaraz (north of Peru).


  65. Name*

    April 25, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Scott, Im peruvian. I see your point, but i dont think uniforms have anything to do with preserving our culture. In those parts of Peru our culture is very well preserve but in the city not so much :/ Anyway, there a really good designers from here who are constantly trying to promote our indentity and culture through their designs. Otherwise there is still a lot to explore.

  66. ava

    April 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I personally favor the idea of a school uniform, when I see, how much my 12 year old son desperately tries to “adjust” to the mainstream style of the kids in school since 3rd grade. During vacation he skipped the gel for his hair for instance. When I asked him why, he said “it’s so nice that I don’t have to bother with the way I “have to look” during vacation. I can wear the things and look the way I like”.
    “Free school-style” today often means having to have the newest sneakers, the coolest pants and so on. Pretty expensive too, if you follow these wishes as a parent (which we don’t), as Abercrombie and Fitch are “cooler” than the less expensive HM for example, well at least in Germany at the moment. The translation of L.O.G.G. in Germany is “L-eider O-hne G-eld G-eboren”, which translated means: unfortunately born without heritage…

    Concerning Peru, I don’t think a school uniform does any harm at all, as in other countries as well. It even may protect the kids a little from the global uniform-thinking that is pushed by the big & well known department stores internationally. THAT is, what does most harm to the traditional styles in my point of view.

  67. Alessandra

    April 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    This is really food for thought. I’m Peruvian, originally from Lima, and live in Cusco, and this is one of the things that surprised me when I moved here.
    I think this issue needs a little more background. As many commenters say, Velasco made the “uniforme Ăşnico” mandatory. Before that, schools already had these european-style uniforms. Because that was considered formal dress; Peru always looked up to the Northern Hemisphere (first Europe, later on the USA). Each school had its own, distinctive uniform, which, I believe, had the aim of differentiating pupils of one school from another, rather than make all students within a school feel equal. This ended when Velasco decided to have only one uniform for all schools. He hired Mocha Graña, a famous theater costume designer, and what she came up with was horrid. She designed a dark grey (rat-coloured, we called it) skirt with mock suspenders, making an H in front and an X in back, with a white short-sleeved shirt and knee high socks, for girls. For boys, rat-coloured trousers with the same short-sleeved shirt. And a dark grey cardigan. Everything synthetic, so in summer we sweated, in winter we freezed. The colour and shape were absolutely depressing. It was conceived as the cheapest uniform, one ‘everyone’ could afford, so there wouldn’t be socioeconomic distinctions among schools or students.
    Did it work? Well… I studied in a really expensive school in Lima. My parents didn’t have loads of money; they were too hippie for that, but my granddad sponsored my education. So even though I wore the “uniforme Ăşnico” as everybody else, this was no secret. It was all too easy to see what brand of car you were picked up in, if by a chauffeur or a perfectly coiffed mum. (My mom took me to school on her bike; my dad picked me up on his motorbike). There were other signifiers: the brand of coloured pencils you had, your shoes, your headband, your lunchbox and what was in it (whole-wheat bread sandwiches and fresh fruit in a basket weren’t in fashion in the ’80s).
    There were a couple of alternative schools that managed to avoid the uniform; either the children wore everyday clothes or, as in the case of my sister’s school, they wore blue jeans and a red t-shirt.
    For a while, during the terrorist kidnapping times, having the same uniform as every other school was thought to be safer. When Peru became more peaceful, Mocha Graña’s hideous uniform was, thankfully, abandoned. Many schools went back to their European boarding-school uniforms, or variations on that.
    But the formality of the school uniforms in Cusco was new for me. Cusco is unique in many ways; cusquenian families tend to be very repressive and conventional, and the society is still a little militaristic; every Sunday there is a military parade at the Plaza de Armas. Women wear high heels (quite a feat if you consider the steep stone streets here) and dress their daughters in dresses, patent leather shoes and quaint overcoats. In part I find it really nice; I own a little ice-cream parlour and love it when flocks of girls dressed in old-fashioned school uniforms come in for an after-school treat. On the other hand, I hate the pressure schools put on students and their parents; everything has to be ironed, every accessory in place. It’s high maintenance and expensive, and students are given a hard time if everything isn’t perfect. My children are in a wonderful school, Pukllasunchis, which belongs to a Swiss NGO. It is very inclusive, and the children wear whatever they want. The school decided from the beginning that a uniform is an artificial way of upholding equality. In real life people wear ordinary clothes, and children need to learn to deal with it.
    Because after school, as many have said here, everybody will wear everyday, ‘western’ clothes, except for the traditional dance competitions in June. It’s older women who still wear polleras and queperinas and stiff hats.

  68. Cait Ni Chaoimh

    April 25, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    It is not order, it is control and controlling humans has never been a good philosophy. It is better guide our children well especially on how to treat those who are different – and that necessarily includes those who are dressed differently. Prepare them to meet the world with grace and compassion, don’t suppress their instincts and curiosity.

  69. Flo

    April 25, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Could they possibly blend their styles when out of uniform? Also, uniforms do reduce the pressure felt by students to “keep up” with those who might have more when their parents prefer to be frugal.

  70. Amarilis Perez

    April 26, 2014 at 1:59 am

    Do you honestly believe that not having a westernized uniform but rather a “Peruvian” one will in some way contribute to preserve “traditional” clothing? It is not nearly as simple.
    Even if this westernized uniforms were mandatory, I don’t think the students would wear ponchos and polleras. As you have most definitely seen, the majority people here don’t really dress like that anymore, at least not the young ones… They’ve seen enough movies and TV to know what jeans and T-shirts are.

    • The Sartorialist

      April 27, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      I guess you didn’t read “I know these are very big and complicated questions “

  71. Giustina

    April 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

    You’ve set up quite a dichotomy between traditional/contemporary, local/global, authentic/inauthentic with your comments. It seems as though you are suggesting that Peruvian local culture is being ruined by globalization, which is imposed on the individuals you are concerned about. If that is in fact what you are saying, I suggest considering the idea that the Peruvian people that you refer to are capable of enacting AGENCY and it is not a one-way exchange. Simply put, exposure to “global culture” will not result in some sort of acculturation of “pure, traditional, authentic” Peruvian culture — because no such thing exists. Sure, the government can celebrate and record cultural traditions that may change over time, but it is certainly not their responsibility (or in their best interest) to “preserve” traditional culture by enforcing laws that prevent students from wearing uniforms or anything along those lines.
    Moreover, as the other commenters have noted, Peru is a complex place in Latin America and there are a myriad of dynamic cultures constantly engaging with one another, not just a single monolithic culture as you suggest in your post. I am only being straightforward because as an artist, it is your responsibility to consider the way your work and your comments about your work engage with the world at large. While I’ve enjoyed your photographs from Peru, it always left me wondering why you only photographed subjects that looked somewhat indigenous, wore textiles that appear “traditional” to an outside viewer and appeared to be from a low economic bracket. I feel like this kind of othering should be acknowledged and discussed, especially when these images are being shown on a platform that has as many visitors as this one.
    I hope in the future you consider some of the ideas I presented here when you travel abroad. Good luck.

    • The Sartorialist

      April 27, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      you obviously didn’t see the PeruModa that were also part of the series.

  72. Pedro

    April 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Its not about globalization its about adaptation. It’s about the mix of races, cultures and languages ​​from across the globe.

  73. M

    April 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I don’t know enough about Peru to comment on this particular issue, although I understand what others are saying about creating a class equality with school uniforms. Moreover, as your other photographs from Peru show, their culture seems to be well and truly thriving!
    I have just uploaded a post on a similar theme, based on a set of amazing images published online.


  74. Jessika

    April 26, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Fearful of a future in which we travel to the ends of the earth in search of truth and beauty, instead we see everything is the same as home, only slightly different angles because of the sun on the geography… In our home lands it is up to us to create a couture that speaks to our unique lives, supporting what we love, live and value with the world the outside.

  75. EmK

    April 27, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    School uniforms are the norm in the UK and if you are ever over here you should spend some time looking at how the kids wearing them personalise them.
    When I was at school( a good few years ago) skirts were regularly rolled up on leaving the house to make a mini skirt, back slits were extended or shortened to produce a more hobbled effect.
    The fashion with ties varied.one year you wore the fat end of the tie to the front and very short, maybe six inches in length. The next year the thin end was to the front and worn very short. Badges were added to jackets and jumpers. You basically pushed it as far as you could until the teachers responded.
    School uniforms do not stifle creativity but they do make it easier to get your kids dresses in the morning.
    That said I still won’t were bottle green after 10 years in my school uniform

  76. Mathilde

    April 28, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Thank you all so far for your contribution to this discussion. In Germany we have a saying: The beauty of a person lays in the eye of the observer. Reading your comments I’ve learned that you can say this about every other understanding of a visual message. I understand the Sartorialist’s thought of globalization that those school uniforms may transport as well as the message of equality one may see in them. But to me the thirst thing I think about when I see students in school uniforms is the pride of education. It was the first thought I had earlier this year when I saw little children in dark blue suits with bright jackets in Ethiopia, it’s what I thought when I saw those school kids in a rather poor neighborhood in India and in Costa Rica. To me this speaks of children being able to attend school and showing it.


    April 28, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Your post is inspiring for young Peruvian designers, for me, because it makes us reflect on the duty to preserve our “cultural identity.”
    According to my perception, you only publish images that have an innate style like women of Urubamba. You ,who is foreigner, appreciate and delights with our colors and textures (thanks for that) and incite us to defend our cultural essence against globalization. I think that I have to bear some of this responsibility, it is a big challenge because not only my designs have to be sustainable in this concept also it will have to be trading in PerĂş.

    But gradually my maturity, as designer, will help me achieve it, and to project it through my brand “QUIS by RocĂ­o Quispe”. This is my dream, thanks for the post is truly inspiring.

    *I hope I have spelled correctly in English :)
    *I invite to visit my designer fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/quisbyrocio

  78. jen

    April 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    uniforms found in countries can sometimes be representations of historical colonization…in s korea there have been many complaints because of the school uniform styles being remnants of the uniforms which were imposed during japanese rule. in terms of personal style, i don’t know if it necessarily hinders, but perhaps encourages? you see often girls, especially, finding ways around their uniforms the world over…whether through hemming, accessories, beauty/hair, shoes, or adapting it into their own personal style post-school…

  79. OtP

    April 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    So, suggesting that the government of a country such as Peru might has some responsibility in protecting “culture” by regulating things like clothing, language, etc, is okay? I suspect that if the same was suggested of the United States…that it might be in the country’s best interest to protect one recognized “culture” of dress, language, etc…people would be losing their shit on here.

  80. T

    April 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I’m pretty sure the majority of Peruvians are much more concerned about receiving an education in any manner it’s presented to them than they are with the “very big and complicated” questions as to what style they will wear in the future. Get with it…

  81. Joao

    April 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I believe, and this is only a question of personal perception, that things got out of hand when you introduced the globalization concept/theme within uniform wearing (especially outside the european/ north american western world context). All negative reactions, even if not too attentive to what you’ve commented or even your work presented in this block trough out the years, tend to convey this discomfort with that personal comment/question of yours. I’m also not convinced these two concepts are linked, at least as you put it. Even though, as I said in my earlier comment, I can relate to it/ understand where you come from. Thank you.

  82. Lana

    April 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Uniforms take away hassle of thinking about what to wear to school everyday. I don’t think it has anything to do with globalization. I’m sure that the people of Peru are still able to maintain their identity and culture even though the children are wearing uniforms that you traditionally see being worn by English school children.

  83. sammywammy

    April 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    To be fair, it’s not as if they’re in danger of swanning around in tweeds and brogues when they get older. I grew up in England where we all have to wear a uniform (it’s pretty much across all levels of society) and if anything you react to it rather than it making you conform.
    Now, if you want to talk about clothing cultural imperialism making everything homogenous it’s denim, and Nike, and baseball caps and trainers. Which are less English and more… well, American innit?

  84. Lee

    April 28, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    These look so much like the uniforms I grew up wearing here in NZ. Appropriate school wear was very much dictated by that worn by our British forebearers. Recently we have started to adapt uniforms to suit our own relaxed kiwi lifestyle. My own children wear trackies, shorts, culottes, skirts, sundresses, cardies and fleeces all in the school colours with the school insignia. There is a bit of choice and it is much more comfy for active children than the kilt and tie I wore. I think that today kiwis enjoy relative economic success and cultural freedom. It is interesting to think that now with more confidence in our nationhood, that reflects in how we dress including school uniform.

  85. P

    April 28, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Reading ALL of these was ssoooooo good. I think, even though we didn t agree much, we kept it civil and its been so interesting not only Reading everyone s comments, but the exact way and words of choice.

    i fell like i m sounding like a moderator”, or the owner” of the page, but, hahajaja, no, really. i liked this very much. it all happened here, im gonna thank that. u all for that. (we.mankind.won this one, by trying o understand each other, those who react like a ..not so much. but im no one to judge or call it nothing, so ignore me. im pmsing)

    its hard to grasp a reality we dont live. we gotta keep humble and open and empathic?empathetic? about it all. and i m still sounding like a moron, sorry, just thanks!

  86. Carla

    April 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    As most of the comments (112!!!) said, your question is very interesting. Every student in a Bilingual School (english, french, or other languages) in LAtin America, wear uniforms. To remark a difference, to show something alike, with europeans culture (kilt, dark green, blue, bordeaux, etc)
    I respect so much your work, and I like your contrast, your both sides of the same place. The Fashion Glamour and the real city, both faces are pretty interesting to me. I enjoy so much your picts when you share with us, both parts. We, latins, are so alike, same kind of problems: education, poverty, governments, and so on

  87. Daniela

    April 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    It is a very interesting question. Being Peruvian, it is not easy to admit that it took me 25 years to visit Cusco. While being there, I recognized how “city people” are being influenced by international brands (having more exposure today than several years ago with help of internet). In contrast, habitants that remain rural, maintain the mix match of neon colors in a particular way that settles with the eye, rather than hurting them. Something, that many people from Lima try to imitate hopelessly. The problem to me is not the globalization, but the discovery of style. To the day, women do not recognize what favors her body, they just follow and imitate what NY and other fashion cities have, there is yet a discovery for style to happen. Sadly, men….aren’t bold enough to try new things, the ones who are, will be ridiculed or given the cold eye by others. Further more, they will easy be categorized as egocentric and often enough, assumed to be homosexual.

  88. Andrew K

    April 29, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Your question reminded me of this quote by Michael Sandel.
    I thought you might like it:

    “From the first stirrings of capitalism, people have imagined the possibility of the world as a perfect market…But this vision has always bumped up against the world as it actually is–full of sources of friction and inefficiency. Some obstacles to a frictionless global market are truly sources of waste and lost opportunities. But some of these inefficiencies are institutions, habits, cultures, and traditions that people cherish precisely because they reflect nonmarket values like social cohesion, religious faith, and national pride. If global markets and new communications technologies flatten those differences, we may lose something important. That is why the debate about capitalism has been… about which frictions, barriers, and boundaries are mere sources of waste and inefficiency, and which are sources of identity and belonging that we should try to protect.”
    I would add to the non-market values: beauty.

    Your question seems to be a recurring theme across industries and aspects of life. Very thought-provoking :)

  89. jhomygolightly

    April 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I actually went to school in Ecuador for several years as a kid and I disagreed with some of the theories about the school uniforms are there to give the impression that all those kids are the same, richer or poorer. The school’s uniform pretty much says whether you’re rich or poor. This is more obvious in the bigger cities in Latin America where there’s a lot of different schools and each school has its own uniform style, colour.

    P.S. I loved my uniform.

  90. Bill Jackson

    April 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Why should any government worry about a people’s culture? Culture isn’t something planned or forced. It’s invisible except to people outside of it. It’s simply the totality of everything that a community considers normal. And it changes continually.

  91. Melissa Randhawa

    May 1, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Perhaps it is to give the impression to the students that the concept of education in the English medium has less to do with their individual culture, and more to do with the fact that they belong to an evolving global system of education. Perhaps by wearing international uniform, they are not synchronised with their heritage and society, and are more likely to feel like and be treated like global citizens from an early stage. A uniform such as this sets a dress code for typical office attire – something they are likely to get used to from an early age and therefore, aspire to corporate postings. The artist, poet, singer,, photographer and culturist will burst out into existence once they hit their late 20s/early 30s anyway…

  92. SqueegeeGirl

    May 1, 2014 at 5:55 am

    I wish public schools had required the students to be in uniform when I was a kid. I was raised in poverty as a child and believe me… it would have been nice to have a school uniform instead of the cheap clothing I was forced to wear…especially in high school! Ugh

  93. Crista

    May 1, 2014 at 8:53 am

    You may want to ask my friend Violeta for her take on this issue. She is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known. A fashion designer, born in Peru but a child of the world, she is an inspiration in her efforts to support indigenous artisans and crafts people: http://www.violetavillacorta.com/biography/

  94. Jenny

    May 1, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Now that they have been wearing uniforms for 45 years, isn’t it a part of their heritage and tradition?

  95. C2G2

    May 2, 2014 at 6:01 am

    I am very concerned about my culture, but I never walk around like this :

    Even my grand’ma didn’t…

    • TT

      May 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Ha Ha Ha ha! You are absolutely right!! Scott knows (because he has been so many times in Madrid) that we in Spain don’t go out anywhere dressed like toreros, flamenco dancers or Almodovar characters. Perhaps, we are no longer typical enough and we are losing our identity.

  96. Monica

    May 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I´m from Peru and I would like to say something interest about this topic. All this uniform thing starts in 1949, when the goberment create the “comando uniform” to make things easier to parents, because Drill was pretty useful and durable. The design was inspired in comando inglish uniform of the second world war. By that time, Private schools have their own uniforms. In 1970 the nationalist goberment (Velasco) imposed the grey uniform (new model, this color was chose because that was a color that not fade easily) to all schools to standardize all students (even private schools) . Even more, at the time of terrorist attacks, it was better that way, because it was at least more easy to conceal students from military and private school that where usually kidnaped, tortured and kill when the were out from school.

    • alessandra de leonardis

      May 3, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      oh my god! you need to be into something to understand and judge it! so: vive the uniforms! long life to freedom!

  97. angela

    May 3, 2014 at 9:26 am

    These are really interesting remarks Monica, and I praise the question being raised by Scott., as there have been so many lucid comments on how the uniform although seemingly aggressive to a culture, is actually complementary to it, in a way that expands the concept of culture to the foreigners eye.
    I would like to add, that in a forward thinking aspect, the cotton used in the uniforms is probably one of the best in the world, which is Peruvian. The adequacy of materials and aesthetic appeal of the uniform is something to build and gather not only from traditions, but also shaped by an idea of future.
    A Brazilian architect in midcentury argued ( and dressed himself) in very broad cut linens and bermudas, and challenged the idea of a suit in a Tropical climate. It still remains only a challenge, regardless of its adequacy.

  98. Less

    May 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    it might not necessarily be related to globalization. school uniforms might have been intended to unify and erase the social differences revealed by clothes and brands. besides, it is a fact that many times tsome families cant afford clothing for everyday school. i’ve worked as a teacher in an american school and a 2nd grader wouldnot want to sit on the grass in a round for a game because she ddnt want to stain her new jeans (a cute pair of 4all man kind for kids).

  99. Karen

    May 16, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I live in Chile. We are PerĂş’s neighbours. In my country, all children go to school in uniform and its been like these for years. This goes for public and private schools.
    It makes easier for the parents to dress their kids every morning, they are more durable than regular clothes, and this way you have no difference between the kids that have more or less money, or because they use a certain brand. Not everyone can afford clothing to everyday school.
    As a grown up who used to dress this uniform and now as a parent, all I can say is that uniforms are the best!

  100. Olivia

    May 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments, so apologise if I’m repeating someone else, but there has always been evidence here in the UK that having a clear uniform policy which is enforced is related to improved school performance. No idea how that translates internationally, but it’s maybe related to narrowing social gaps and creating a sense of pride and community.

  101. Allison

    May 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Your post says it all: uniforms were passed into law — and put into practice — some 45 years ago. Indigenous cultures, dress, and ways of being in the world remain as vibrant and creative as they have always been. The well-meaning fears of folks in the West tends to overlook the fact that indigenous peoples in the Americas have been negotiating change within their communities for a long time, taking elements from other cultures that are useful or interesting to them (e.g., 19th c. style British hats) and repurposing them on their own terms.

  102. Maria

    June 16, 2014 at 12:19 am

    I love your photos! I really do, I’ve being a long time shy follower, but I must say somethig here. You all are mising a big point, Central and South America culture (education, way of goberment, food, medicine, music, and etc, etc)in most of it is based on western culture. About everything. I from Argentina, the same thing about the school uniforms (I used 4 differents!). There’s no way to see our culture without thinking about western culture. Look, I writing in english, because in argentinians shool teach english, not our pre-colonial local languages! And that’s because long time ago, some politicians (who had the idea that western culture was better) kill all the natives. Yes, they did. So, as maybe many of the latins that has comment this post, I can say that I don’t have anything of local on me! I’m the result of european inmigration, and their culture. For ejample, tango is not local, is a mixture of sounds. Italian, polish, jewish sounds. I became local with time. The same thing about the school uniforms in Japan. They aren’t like the rest, they are particularly japanese, based on western culture….. Do we need to show local colours in everything? Don’t think so, and the answer will be always no if it means to do it just for display to tourism. But, I do agree that our background culture should be revalued somehow in the new fashion industry, but who really want that? Think about that, who receives the benefits of having our culture westenized? Why it can’t be the other way round? Why don’t asked to fashion industry to go latin? I know we have huge world wide recongize exponents of our culture, but here I’m wearing snickers and etc…
    Love, and please keep doing what you love!

  103. Nefelibata

    June 18, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    I am peruvian. If they were not wearing uniforms, they would probably be wearing jeans and a shirt -both made in china.

  104. Violeta Villacorta

    March 9, 2016 at 7:32 am

    I just came across this post and I am intrigued by the title. There is a great interest among Peruvian designers and renown artists to utilize the ancient traditions in their design collections and works of art; as well as creating outlets for indigenous artisans to market their beautiful artistry, while applying it to accessible items. There are a number of designers in Lima that are building a name for themselves globally. Architecture (ancient, colonial and modern) in Peru as a whole, in the capital city of Lima, as well as other cities in the country is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in the Americas. The school uniform was imposed in the late 60′s by the then president Velasco Alvarado as a way to make all school children equal and avoid displaying the disparity between the financially poor and the rich. I am Peruvian, raised in NYC, transplanted to California. I work with indigenous Amazon rainforest artisans in Peru and Ecuador, via my brand ORG by vio (orgbyvio.com) to help them support their traditional artistry, culture and forests via our creative collaboration.

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