New fashion choice puzzles people around Japan.

In the design world, inspiration can come from anywhere, and if the buzz around Zara’s newest loungewear release is anything to go by, that inspiration can also come from the Japanese schoolyard. Because as soon as customers in Japan laid eyes on the Spanish brand’s new shirt and shorts set, all they could see was…a Japanese P.E. uniform.

It’s not only odd for Japanese people to see an outfit like this sold as fashionable out-of-school attire–it’s odd to see it being worn by an adult, as this look is commonly worn by children, from elementary right through to high school.

▼ When people see the Zara outfit above, this is what they think of.

Over at Zara, the Rib Tops and Contrast Short Pants retail for 2,590 yen (US$24.45) each. The two colours available, red or blue, are in line with the most popular colours seen in the schoolyard as well.

People online have been puzzled by the new outfit and how it came about, saying:

“Wait, so Zara is selling P.E. uniforms now?”
“Even with the model’s cool poses it still looks like a Japanese P.E. outfit!”
“This brings back memories from my high school days!”
“I’ve probably still got mine in the back of a cupboard somewhere. Can’t imagine wearing it though!”
“Seeing people wear this overseas would blow my mind.”

While it’s unclear whether or not Zara was consciously trying to imitate the Japanese P.E. uniform, it hasn’t done the brand any harm as there are some people in Japan saying they’d love to buy the set to relive their high school dreams again. 

The nostalgia of childhood has prompted at least one Japanese company to reimagine the P.E. uniform as a dress to wear around the house, so there is a market out there for sporty school apparel. And as we’ve seen before with Muji’s “communist suit” and Uniqlo’s dictator jacket, anything that gets people talking about your product is a win-win for the company, especially if your model sports anime tattoos for the photo shoot.

Source: Zara 
Top image: Zara
Insert images: Zara (1, 2), Yahoo! Japan /
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