Of the infinite cultural things that could stand as shorthand for the victory of the lowest-common-denominator across middle-class American culture, one of my favorites is the attire worn for the “Jeopardy!” college tournament.
Whether from the most elite and expensive college or a big state school (yes, I’m a living example that sometimes smart guys, through some character flaw, end up at mediocre schools), they all wear the same thing: an oversized, ill-fitting hooded sweatshirt, as if it may start snowing in the television studio at any moment.
As a follow-up to our recent post about The Hardy North, we’d like to introduce Vintage Campus, which is also trying to give students and alumni better school-clothing options than the lowest common denominator. The brand’s first sweater was for the University of Chicago.
“We decided to start Vintage Campus because we noticed that the vast majority of American college bookstores sell terrible collegiate clothing,” says cofounder Chris Stavitsky. “By this I mean that bookstore clothing is garish, of poor quality, and lacking school specificity.”
While similar brands are targeting just the Ivies, Vintage Campus in thinking more broadly. Writes Stavitsky in an email:
Ivy League schools have had a leg up. Yale has collaborated with J. Press, and Harvard has done something similar. And a couple of new companies, like us, have noticed the gap in the market. They have come out of Cornell (The Hardy North) and Dartmouth (Hillflint). But these are still brands coming out of the Ivy League and selling exclusively to Ivy League schools. There’s nothing for the rest of us.
As we grow, Vintage Campus would like to become a style touchpoint for schools of all types, not just elite institutions. Hundreds of colleges in the US have incredible histories that span centuries, and we want to help alumni and students recognize their own place in these unique stories through our sweaters.
If you’d like to get your school or alma mater involved, Stavitsky says please feel free to send him an email. — CC