Re: Perhaps the tide is changing.
For me the source of a successful dojo is the Sensei...or team of Sensei's if a larger dojo.
If they are happy with and see value in 'traditional' attire....then the students they attract will see value in it.
Even if the students prefer not to wear traditional clothes, if they value the instructor then they go along.
I have no problem attracting or keeping students, I have no problems with students not wishing to wear traditional stuff and take the time for traditional ettiquette.
Any issues I do experience are down to technical content not meeting expectations of individuals. Basically Aikido is too hard for some, too soft for others and even with the best will in the world no one can keep everyone happy when they let anyone in the door.
I would add that where I am, in a small city that has MMA, BJJ and such currently popular MA's competing with TMA's, the attention to ettiquette, to attire etc helps to differentiate us from the combat sports people or the 'reality based training' guys in sweats. I feel it actually works in our favour,- we've put ourselves 'out there' with demonstrations and multi-art seminars...and the outfits along with the ability of some of the people in the club....have been very favourably received.
Of course when it comes to the classes -It makes no difference to the technical content. or to the relaxed/serious nature of practice what people wear other than perhaps setting a tone at the start that allows an instructor to create an atmosphere that is right for learning....and at the end to send everyone home in a chilled mood.
Students vote with their feet...in my experience the traditional gear makes no impact numbers wise....either way. What makes the difference is quality.
In my opinion, a poor instructor can only hide behind the paraphenalia for so long...but with so much information, so much discussion, and so much advice on questions that a discerning student should be asking being so freely available....then in a competitive environment an instructor that fails to deliver to the aspirations of students....will see those students leave and not necessarily be replaced.