Cannes Lions

UNI-FORM

OGILVY TAIWAN, Taipei City / VOGUE / 2021

Awards:

1 Silver Cannes Lions
1 Bronze Cannes Lions
2 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
Presentation Image
Case Film
Demo Film

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

Have you ever stopped to consider: Aren’t uniforms that distinguish between boys and girls a form of gender restriction?

At school, girls are required to wear skirts, and boys are required to wear pants. But in 2019 Banqiao Senior High School dared to challenge this rule, speaking out on behalf of students with different gender expressions. At the school’s anniversary celebration, they invited the school’s boys to wear skirts, all on the same occasion. What followed was an uproar across Taiwan. Conservatives held a protest at the Ministry of Education, and a city councilman called in the school principal for questioning.

Voices respecting diversity should not be silenced. So Vogue Magazine joined forces with acclaimed fashion designer Angus Chiang, to transform the concept from a one-off event into a genuine campus fashion.

Idea

The First-ever Gender-neutral Uniform

Project UNI-FORM

Garments are not intrinsically gender-specific. Who says boys can’t wear skirts? In Project UNI-FORM, we asked fashion designer Angus Chiang to design a line of uniforms for girls and boys alike, with design choices that students can freely mix and reshape however they want. Combining shirts and skirts, jackets and one-piece dresses, they’re equally fashionable and practical. Regardless of gender, body type or habits, everyone can reshape the uniforms with zippers and drawstrings, however they feel most comfortable: If you like, pull a zipper and turn your shirt into a dress. If you’re confident of your figure, pull a drawstring, so the waist and arms hug your body... We designed a line of uniforms that everyone feels at ease wearing, in the hope that everyone respects everyone else’s choices and appearance.

Strategy

Even though we were designing school uniforms, our intention was to influence more people than just students. We wanted people who had never even thought about gender before to get involved in the conversation, because that is the only way to effect change. As Taiwan’s biggest fashion magazine, Vogue wanted to take the issue of gender differences on school campuses into the “mainstream.”

Taipei Fashion Week – usually the venue for releasing high-end custom-designed clothing – became our platform for spreading the word. We invited a rising-star designer to create a line of uniforms. Perhaps men wearing skirts is far from unheard-of in the fashion world, but male students wearing uniforms with skirts could stir a great amount of attention. The release event was just the beginning. More importantly, with the actual production of UNI-FORMs, we sparked widespread discussion throughout society on the issue of gender equity in schools.

Execution

On October 4th, during the biggest event in Taiwan’s fashion world – Taipei Fashion Week – we launched Project UNI-FORM, with an official catwalk show. And it quickly became the most hotly discussed topic in the fashion community. We also produced an exclusive lookbook, which included a paper doll that people could dress up in whatever combination and whatever style suited them best. On UNI-FORM’s official website, we introduced UNI-FORM designs tailored for specific schools across Taiwan – starting with Banqiao Senior High School. In Vogue’s online shop, you can buy a real UNI-FORM of your own, and wear it to school. As each student put on an actual UNI-FORM, they could feel its liberating design for themselves. The entire journey and all the garment details were brought together on Instagram, keeping up an ongoing conversation with students in sync with their lives.

Outcome

With zero media budget, the project generated 14M in earned media value. A single line of uniforms made all of Taiwanese society ponder some basic but important questions: Why do clothes distinguish between males and females? Can we allow every person to decide for themselves what they will look like? Internet influencers livestreamed wearing UNI-FORMs, and Taiwan’s biggest bands took to the stage with UNI-FORMs on. The campaign even gained the attention of the Ministry of Education and the president, and was featured in school textbooks.

Most gratifying of all, we received extremely positive feedback from students: “Regardless of gender, we can all be comfortable in the UNI-FORM.” And we inspired students from other places around the world to transcend their own restrictions.

From now on, the “UNI” in “uniform” stands for “Unisex” and “Unique.” We didn’t just change how uniforms look. We changed what they mean.

Similar Campaigns

12 items

Billie Eilish and 8 Climate Activists Get Real About Our Planet

MJZ, Los angeles

Billie Eilish and 8 Climate Activists Get Real About Our Planet

2023, VOGUE

(opens in a new tab)