Taiwan has over the years built a reputation as being one of Asia’s most progressive places, with a young demographic that has become increasingly open to diversity and inclusion.
This served as inspiration for Ogilvy Taipei to approach media group Condé Nast Taiwan, and acclaimed designer Angus Chiang to launch “Project Uni-form” to create what Ogilvy says is the world’s first gender-neutral school uniform that celebrates equality and advocates the importance of respecting all choices.
The birth of Project Uni-form
In 2019, the New Taipei Municipal Banqiao Senior High School in Taiwan initiated a day where students could wear school uniforms from the opposite sex to help curb gender stereotypes and bullying in schools. Taking this brave initiative as inspiration, Ogilvy worked with leading Taiwanese designer Angus Chiang (the first Taiwanese designer to ever participate in Fashion Week de Paris six times in a row) and Condé Nast Taiwan, (an intercultural media group that values diversity) to create a new uniform collection for the school that is entirely gender-neutral.
Angus designed 11 pieces of exclusive uniforms that go beyond gender boundaries. Photographer Zhong Lin, who’s known for her quirky style and photography, worked alongside student models to constitute a Lookbook to bring this ground-breaking project to life.
“Project Uni-form is the creative and design embodiment of our love for this land, where we transformed the abstract pursuit for mutual understanding and diversity into actual clothing,” said Giant Kung, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy Taipei. “We hope to better society with Project Uni-form’s support in joining the conversation so each one of us can confidently be proud of who we are and express their true self comfortably. This is what the project aims to achieve.”
From “Our Playground” to school campuses, students demonstrate the power of diversity
On October 4, 2020, Project Uni-form made its official debut to the public under the theme “Our Playground” at the Xinyi Chateau in Taipei. As opposed to traditional shows, the “playground” event had no stage, no boundaries, and no limitations.
With curation from Catwalk, leading model management and talent discovery agency, the event kicked off with performances by high school dance clubs, followed by 24 student models’ who stole the show with the stylish “Project Uni-form” collection. From the sport trench coat “stroodie,” drawstrings-designed school blazer “schoozer,” to the one-piece swimsuit “swsu1t,” each piece demonstrates how the collection can be mixed and matched in countless ways to get rid of existing school uniform gender rules.
Celebrities including 2020 Golden Bell Award-winning actress Moon Lee, rising actress Ellen Wu, musician GOAT, and KOLs My Inspired Project and GarbageStoryBoy were also at the show to support “Project Uni-form’s” movement.
“Project Uni-form’s” outdoor installation featuring Angus Chiang’s gender-neutral uniform will be displayed at the Xinyi Chateau North End until October 18, 2020, for everyone to get a first-hand look at the collection.
In addition to physical events, Project Uni-form also has built an Instagram community, supporting the movement with filter games to fuel the discussion and get the student community talking.
Through “Project Uni-form’s” official website, Ogilvy Taipei developed a uni-form mock-up page for different schools, encouraging students to develop their own uniform using the project initiator to design and tailor-make their own exclusive “Project Uni-form.”
“We can learn from these students. If they are aware of these gender restricting rules and codes and can rewrite them, so can we,” said Stratos Efstathiou, Associate Creative Director, Ogilvy Hong Kong. “These progressive students are leading the way and Project Uni-form is celebrating all gender identities and gender expressions in its amazing spectrum of colors, shapes, and sizes.”
Combining the power of cultural design and creativity, “Project Uni-form” hopes to level up on social impact and inspire people to act together to celebrate diversity and individuality.