If the school uniforms’ original owners don’t want them anymore, there are some guys who do.
For many people in Japan, their high school uniform has a special place in their heart. After wearing it day in and day out during the last stage of their childhood, many choose to hang on to theirs after graduation, as a memento of those blissfully innocent, carefree days.
But for some more pragmatic teens, there’s no point in keeping an outfit they’re never going to wear again, especially when the avaricious or economically minded can make some cash by selling their used uniforms online.
こーへー (@kouheirec) February 25, 2017
Yes, it’s that time of year again. With the end of the school year right around the corner, Japanese online marketplace Mercari is seeing a surge in the number of second-hand schoolgirl uniforms for sale. The above ensemble, which looks to include both the summer and winter tops and skirts, is being offered by the seller for 10,000 yen (US$89). While that’s likely far less than the owner’s parents paid for it new, it’s still a pretty hefty chunk of change for two outfits that have already seen a lot of wear.
That’s far from the highest-priced uniform currently listed on Mercari, either. The seller of the outfit shown below in the center of the top row is asking for 70,000 yen, as is the owner of the uniform at the bottom left.
Sellers also seem diligent about including the name of the uniform’s associated school in their listings, which suggests that certain academic institutions command higher prices among used schoolgirl uniform shoppers. The seller of a summer uniform from Fukushima Prefectural Sukagawa Toyo High School, for example, feels it warrants a 90,000-yen price tag, whereas another from Kakunodate Minami High School in Akita Prefecture is charging 200,000 yen for hers.
Of course, it’s common economic knowledge that just because you ask for a certain amount of money in exchange for an item doesn’t mean anyone will actually buy it at that price. However, a quick look through some of Mercari’s recent listing show several 20,000-yen-plus uniforms have been purchased through the site, including one which went for 65,000 yen.
▼ This Twitter user uses her old P.E. uniform as pajamas, but was shocked to see that another alumni had sold hers through Mercari for 10,000 yen.
🅰 (@ASUKA_IS_DEAD) March 02, 2017
But while school uniforms are often romanticized and/or fetishized in Japanese media and imaginations, the reality is that since students generally only have one summer and one winter uniform, and have to wear them Monday through Friday (plus on the weekends if participating in school functions), they tend to go several months at a time without being dry-cleaned, meaning that come graduation, the fabric can often be in pretty bad shape. But considering that the customer comments for schoolgirl uniform listings on Mercari include prospective buyers inquiring about buying “just the skirt” or “the recorder you used in music class,” odds are the target market isn’t going to be turned off by a couple of sweat stains.