Back to school is right around the corner, and this year we're excited for more than just fresh notebooks and a brand new pack of crayons. We've been planning our shiny new Uniform collection for a while now, and we're so excited to finally share it with the world.
Say hello to super soft polos, stretchy chino pants, colorful dresses for all kids and more—all ready to replace the old, scratchy dress code basics. Learn more about what went into creating these colorful, comfortable styles in our interview with the design team!
Why did we launch the Uniform collection?
After years of shopping for uniforms for our own kids, we felt there was an opportunity to bring our expertise to this space and create an assortment that prioritizes quality and comfort for every kid. Kids live in these clothes, so they need to not just stand up to everyday wash and wear, but also remain comfortable. We performed extensive wash tests, and even had our own kids wear the styles and provide feedback. We’ve put in a lot of time, thought, and care into this assortment, and we feel proud to share it with the world.
Is there a particular style you’re especially excited about?
We fell in love with our pique, the fabric our polos come in, and actually ended up centering the entire collection around it! It comes in a beautiful rainbow of 16 colors, and we’re super proud of how soft the end result is. It’s a great staple, whether kids have a required dress code or just want to dress up a little.
What makes the pique fabric so special and soft? What is pique?
Pique is a woven fabric that is super breathable and airy, making it ultra comfortable. Made with combed cotton and recycled polyester, it’s created with a special washing process that makes it extra soft and resistant to pilling and color loss. It’s everything you’d want out of a shirt you wear all day, everyday – comfortable, breathable, vibrant, and durable.
Why are there more casual styles on the uniform page like tees and sweatshirts? Aren’t uniforms supposed to be more… dressy?
We included some key styles from our Primary Basics line in uniform colors so kids can layer under or over everyday uniform styles. Keeping kids comfortable is one of the most important things to us – if that means layering a tee under a polo, or throwing a hoodie over a uniform dress, we want to make sure kids have everything they need to shine bright, no matter their dress code requirements.
We also know that plenty of kids don’t have a required school uniform or dress code, but we wanted to make school shopping easy for all parents. When we were reading through customer feedback to create this collection, we found a lot of parents saying that our signature styles were a part of their kids’ “everyday uniform.” We loved that people were using the word in a less literal sense, not so much about school, but just about daily life. We wanted to make sure all our most comfortable basics were in one place.
What was the hardest part about creating a uniform collection?
Probably the testing. Quality is always important to us at Primary, but we were thinking about uniform styles as a new standard. These styles need to have the same level of comfort, but maintain their shape and quality to remain suitable for various dress code needs. To make sure they’ll stay soft without losing their shape or color, we put them through four different tests.
Wow, four! What are those tests? Is there one that’s the most important?
Yep, four! They’re all important in their own way for all of us to feel excited and confident about bringing a new style or fabric to our customers. First, we start with the fabric testing itself. We make sure there are no chemicals, and that there’s a good pH balance with no irritants. Our clothes need to be safe and comfortable for kids to wear, so that’s something we take really seriously. After we take off our chemistry goggles, it’s time to use a magnifying glass to look at the structure of the fabric. Will it pill after a lot of wear? Will it stay soft? High quality materials and first-rate manufacturing partners are key factors that help our styles pass this first test.
Once we decide the fabric is up to our standards, we look at the whole garment and the construction of it. Are the seams tight? Do the buttons stay on? Will it hold its shape and stretch without stretching out too much? These qualities are super important for kids clothes, since kids are always on the move and their clothes need to keep up with them.
Next, we do a wash test. This is where we tend to see styles not make the final cut, or be brought back to the drawing board. We wash all our styles at least 60 times in our own washing machines to make sure we’re still proud of how it looks and feels. In addition to everything kids put their clothes through, we need to make sure all our styles will hold up wash after wash.
Our last test is the wear test. We ask ourselves very important questions: are these styles our own kids would want to wear? We make sure of it! We’re lucky to have a lot of moms and dads at Primary, with kids who love to give their opinions. Primary VP of Design Ally can always count on her daughter and son, June and Jackson to let her know exactly what they think of whatever they’re testing out for us. After two thumbs up from the kids of Primary, we put in an order with our partners and excitedly wait for the style to hit our site!
What do we do when a style doesn’t pass these tests? Has that ever happened?
There’s a few things we can try but the short answer is we ultimately won’t sell it. That actually happened this year. We had planned to sell our kids oxford in white, in addition to the blue we currently have, but the white fabric didn’t stay as soft as we wanted it to after the wash test. It was a hard decision because a white button down would have been pretty popular in a uniform collection, but we didn’t feel confident and proud of how the style turned out and we didn’t want to let our customers down. It’s moments like that where it makes sense to have such stringent testing – it ensures we only put out products we feel 110% excited about.
We're proud to have a design team that works so hard to create super soft, unfussy styles to help kids shine every day. Shop our kids back to school styles and the Uniform collection—ready for dress codes, all-day play and everything in between. And don't forget to share your first-day-of-school looks on social by tagging us @primarydotcom with #yesprimary!