University Chic

23 Nov 2011|Cultural Insight Team

With rising university fees in the headlines, a plethora of brands seem to be using overtly scholarly imagery.  The icons of public school and elite university education are everywhere.

Canterbury Shop (

Jack Wills  ( pull no punches with their ‘University Outfitters’ claim and sponsorship of the Varsity Polo match, but other brands are playing the same card game. Images of rowing oars, college scarves, blazers and cricket whites abound. Even Kiwi brand, Canterbury (, is using an image of the Rugby School rule book on its website and a Cambridge college crest as shop décor. Hackett ( have gone so far as to launch a range of clothing branded ‘St Edmund Hall,’ after the college of Oxford.

Hackett’s St Edmund Hall (







Does this give us an indication of what kind of education experience students  are now expecting? Are the days of living off baked beans and slobbing in an old jumper long gone? University appears to have become aspirational and even stylish. Perhaps, with fees of £9000 a year, young people are now demanding the fully-fledged Brideshead  experience. And if you were paying that much wouldn’t you be expecting the ‘real thing’ too?

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