Ivy Trendwatch: H&M Goes Collegiate

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Since the publication of “Take Ivy” and the MFIT’s “Ivy Style” exhibit five-plus years ago, there hasn’t been much to add to Ivy Trendwatch. That’s our very narrow category used only for cultural happenings that specifically invoke the term “Ivy League” and reference the heyday of the Ivy League Look — regardless of execution, I should add. But the stirrings of a neo-prep revival keep getting stronger, and this week we’ll have a couple of new additions to Ivy Trendwatch.

The first is the announcement that this fall global fast-fashion retailer H&M will unveil a collection entitled Athletic Prep. Copy on the company’s website also invokes the terms Ivy League and collegiate:

As always I encourage you to at least mildly applaud these attempts at Main Street (or however you say that in Swedish) Ivy-prep, as they certainly help keep alive the taste for traditional American style, and might just get some freshmen curious about investigating the real deal. As for the clothes themselves, as you can see these apples have fallen rather far from the tree. Then again, the marketing copy does say “rebellious punk revisions.”

Which at least isn’t as odious as “preppy aesthetic.” — CC




32 Comments on "Ivy Trendwatch: H&M Goes Collegiate"

  1. EVAN EVERHART | August 21, 2018 at 4:52 pm |

    Once again, European have doggedly conflated Americana with Ivy League/Preppy, at least in some of these shots/with some of these items. The shoes are excruciating. But as this is only a sampling of the wears to be offered, one can still hold out hope. To be fair, they have had the odd half-way decent item, on occasion; years ago, a fustian safari jacket, and Russian Gymnostroika shirt, and years later, a lovely collegiate themed mustard colored pure cotton cardigan with horn buttons in a non-micro-midget ectomorphic cut! In fact, that same mustard collegiate sweater (reminiscent of some from the 1920s through to the 1950s), is still in my wardrobe, and one even fit my cousin, who is a mesomorph.

  2. EVAN EVERHART | August 21, 2018 at 4:56 pm |

    Those shoes remind me of “Creepers” the crepe soled pseudo-retro monstrosities (usually in patent leather or loud plaid), which ’90s and ’00s, music tribe cliques used to wear in Los Angeles night clubs, in lurid reference to the Creepers of the Teddy Boys of the 50s and 60s (not quite comprehending their own reference, of course). This practice was particularly prevalent amongst the “Psychobilly” and “Rockabilly” and bondage kids. It’s still horrific.

    Hollywood: field of nightmares.

  3. Mitchell S. | August 21, 2018 at 5:03 pm |

    Awful. More 80s punk than collegiate ivy. Cheap, nasty, and disposable. I would rather have one item from Ralph Lauren then a whole closet full of H&M.

    Sadly, it’s a huge improvement from the sweatpants and hoodies they college kids wear today.

  4. Caustic Man | August 21, 2018 at 5:08 pm |

    I’ve seen worse. Good for H&M for trying. They might have invited me to consult, however. 🙂

  5. Is that a tan leisure suit second photo on the right?
    Far out.
    No doubt an homage to the 70s when Ivy was on life support.
    Except for people like me.

  6. Evan Everhart | August 21, 2018 at 8:04 pm |

    @Roger Sack: More like a tan polyester Canadian Tux with a velveteen collar. Groovy.

  7. Well, I suppose you can applaud the effort, but doesn’t something like this come up every 5-6 years or so? Some sort of 1930s-60s mashup of Rudy Vallee and “Goodbye, Columbus” and who knows what-all? Never seems to go anywhere, and usually for good reason.

  8. Vern Trotter | August 21, 2018 at 10:20 pm |

    Pardon me while I retch!

  9. whiskeydent | August 21, 2018 at 10:26 pm |

    @EVAN EVERHART
    I am concerned that I understand the terms “psychobilly” and “rockabilly,” as well as the difference between the two. I can only attribute this to living in Austin, where all the musical -illy’s, -isms and -ists take their respective places in the sun at their appointed times.

    And you’re right about the creepers. Good gawd, they were awful. Rock on!

  10. Simplex Munditiis | August 22, 2018 at 12:44 am |

    As the French painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres said, “Better gray than garishness.”

  11. Swedish company, faux preppy look, made in China – just a downmarket version of Gant. At least there is no tacky logo on the cream sweater that’s the only piece that I would even consider.

  12. EVAN EVERHART | August 22, 2018 at 10:26 am |

    @ WHISKEYDENT: Check, and Check! I feel much the same, and can proverbially chalk up my own awareness of the same to the regrettable set of circumstances by way of the fact that I live in Lost Angeles where (especially in the ’90s & early oughts), you couldn’t walk 3 steps outside, and sometimes even inside of the San Fernando Valley without jostling one of these poseurs at being disaffected and dejected while they railed. I’m sorry that you’ve had the misfortune to see and know those creeper shoes, but it’s good you can commiserate! Thanks for the laughs Sir!

  13. To me, these items appear to be modern dutch.

    Will

  14. Charlottesville | August 22, 2018 at 3:03 pm |

    Will — You know your Wodehouse. (To which Bertie would reply, “Oh. Am I?”)

  15. I am indeed…a Wodehouse authority. Had a dog named Jeeves when I met my wife. When we adopted a new dog I tried to name him Seepings which was not acceptable. Tried for Meadows but was told no. Settled on Frampton, which I seem to recall was a butler name in a Mr. Mulliner or Blandings Castle story. It has been years since I read the books but I think I am just about due.

    Will

  16. The argyle sweater in one of those shots doesn’t look all that bad.

    OK, I found something nice to say

  17. Old School Tie | August 23, 2018 at 8:20 am |

    Model demographics are dreadfully skewed these days, or is it just me?

  18. Just Sayin' | August 23, 2018 at 10:01 am |

    @ Old School Tie – models don’t have to proportionally represent the demographics of the United States. So yes, it’s just you. (Or you can think of it as making up for the decades and decades of only white people in advertisements, which probably didn’t feel too great for everyone else.)

  19. Charlottesville | August 23, 2018 at 10:18 am |

    Will — Seepings might have been a bit too apropos as the name for a dog. If you are still looking for butler names, there is always Swordfish, from Jeeves in the Offing.

  20. MacMcConnell | August 23, 2018 at 11:39 am |

    My gut response when I pulled up the Ivy-Style.com site was that a hostile foreign power had hack the site.

  21. Terry O'Reilly | August 23, 2018 at 12:37 pm |

    @Old School Tie – It sometimes seems so; sometimes it might just be chance, or the fact that modern agencies will now accept more melanin-enriched models and there is now more variety.

    @ Just Sayin’ – The demographic to whom this clothing advertisement is aimed has only been around for (at most)four decades, and thus shouldn’t bear the brunt of the prejudices of the past. The passive-aggressive parenthetical quip was a nice touch, though. Just sayin’.

  22. Just Sayin' | August 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm |

    @ Terry – “The demographic to whom this clothing advertisement is aimed has only been around for (at most)four decades, and thus shouldn’t bear the brunt of the prejudices of the past.” I don’t know what this means. “Bear the brunt” implies that diversifying models is a burden to be borne by the consumer, which makes no sense. And it wasn’t passive aggressive (by definition), or a quip – it was simply a point.

    Clothes look the same no matter who is wearing them, as long as they’re worn correctly. The color of a model’s skin has absolutely zero effect on the clothes in an advertisement or collection.

  23. Just Sayin' | August 23, 2018 at 12:49 pm |

    It seems to be that these kinds of reactionary comments about race seem to have a habit of showing up on Ivy Style, more than any other trad/Ivy corner of the internet.

    Just sayin’.

  24. Terry O'Reilly | August 23, 2018 at 1:10 pm |

    @ Just Sayin’ – “I don’t know what this means.” It means that the young people to whom these clothes are advertised needn’t be the battlefield on which their grandparents fought.

    ‘“Bear the brunt” implies that diversifying models is a burden to be borne by the consumer, which makes no sense.’

    Taking out the aggressions or deficiencies of a prior generation on the current youth just to swing the pendulum the opposite way is a burden on the latter.

    “Clothes look the same no matter who is wearing them, as long as they’re worn correctly. The color of a model’s skin has absolutely zero effect on the clothes in an advertisement or collection.”

    I agree… But if that doesn’t matter to you, then what would the point of adding racial diversity to the mix be?

    “It seems to be that these kinds of reactionary comments about race seem to have a habit of showing up on Ivy Style, more than any other trad/Ivy corner of the internet.”

    It seems to me that any time comments about race pop up, some folk get very defensive and upset and suspect the worst of the commenters. If we can’t discuss things in a civil manner, what is the point of these comment sections?
    Not everyone shares the same opinion on everything, and that’s why I for one enjoy the comments on this site.

  25. @Just Sayin’

    Please be sure and distinguish the comments section, which I try to police as little as necessary, with the site’s editorial content. It has been very important to me for the past 10 years that Ivy Style take arguably the most inclusive approach of any trad/Ivy/prep place on the web.

    C.

  26. Just Sayin' | August 23, 2018 at 11:15 pm |

    @ CC – They can’t be separated, in my opinion. They are one and the same, moderated by you and a community enabled by you. There’s lots of good here, but it’s a cop-out to say the bad that crops up has nothing to do with you or your content. Not saying you intend any of that stuff to happen, but it’s still here, and it’s part of the package.

    @ Terry – “But if that doesn’t matter to you, then what would the point of adding racial diversity to the mix be?” A+ on twisting my point, good work. What I meant by that was that the color of someone’s skin is irrelevant to the product – you are arguing (whether you care to admit it or not) that the models are too diverse. I am saying that there is no such thing, as there is no correlation between skin color and product; the only effect I can see, other than that it pisses off people like you, is that people of color will see themselves in clothes that were previous marketed as off-limits to them. That’s a struggle that’s going on right now – nothing to do with their grandparents, as much as some might like to pretend that today’s minorities are coddled and that racism doesn’t exist and therefore no one can complain about experience prejudice and discrimination. Racism is not a relic of the 19th century, it is alive and well, albeit in different forms. Some commenters here provide a good example.

  27. Caustic Man | August 24, 2018 at 6:32 am |

    At some point we have to take responsibility for our own comments and the way we react to other comments. Another way of copping out is expecting someone else to play idea-police for the rest of us. Don’t think of it as a community with a bad side, think of it as a personal opportunity to confront injustice. Don’t shelter me from the bad, give me the tools to deal with it.

  28. Terry O’Reilly | August 24, 2018 at 10:48 am |

    @ Just Sayin’ – Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you’re operating under the false asumption that I’m a racist. I simply agreed with Old School Ties that there have been more people of color in advertising, and offered a couple of examples as to why that might possibly be. Hardly a Third Reich mentality. And no, I was not saying(without saying) that models are too diverse. Sorry, you’re putting a whole slew of words into my mouth that just aren’t there. Your platitudes toward me are unfounded.
    You can have your (Alluded to so people can fill in the blanks)opinion of me and can pigeonhole me without knowing me. That only bothers me enough for me to reply again, and coincidentally displays your hypocrisy. I’m getting vibes of demagoguery from you here. Simple answers pacify simple minds.
    Who, in this era of identity politics, has the right to speak about race, even in a benign fashion?

  29. Just Sayin' | August 24, 2018 at 8:34 pm |

    @ Terry – An easy way to sidestep debate is to bypass it and go straight for the most extreme outcome (i.e., “I’m not a Nazi, so you’re all wrong about me.”) But you’re right, it is hardly a Third Reich mentality. I didn’t call you a Nazi, nor would I. If I wanted to call you a racist, I would. But I didn’t. I was just pressing on undertones that, to me, were hard to ignore, and would do us all good to examine, in my opinion.

    @ Caustic Man – well, you were the one who chose not to call out another poster for more blatantly racist views in a thread on SF, so I’ll just say you have a different take on confronting injustice than me.

  30. Caustic Man | August 24, 2018 at 9:03 pm |

    I don’t think that’s true at all. In fact I responded to that person with historical reasons why his views were wrong. What I did refuse to do was to attack his person and attempt to shame him into never posting again.

  31. Terry O'Reilly | August 25, 2018 at 5:49 pm |

    @ Just Sayin’ -An easy way to sidestep debate is to bypass it and go straight for the most extreme outcome (i.e., “I’m not a Nazi, so you’re all wrong about me.”) But you’re right, it is hardly a Third Reich mentality. I didn’t call you a Nazi, nor would I. If I wanted to call you a racist, I would. But I didn’t. I was just pressing on undertones that, to me, were hard to ignore, and would do us all good to examine, in my opinion.

    I didn’t say you went to the extreme; I said you were implying in every way(aside from stating it) that I’m a racist. Feel free to examine the undertones if you’d like to(and if Chens hasn’t had it with our banter). Thank you.

  32. Terry O'Reilly | August 25, 2018 at 5:49 pm |

    Pardon my lack of quotes around the first paragraph.

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