What brand is your uni?

You can’t hide behind that 90s jacket forever


From family friendly Gap to Ket-stained Ellesse, every uni has their brand – accept and embrace your stereotype.

St Andrews – Marks and Spencers’ Blue Harbour

Since mum loves Per Una there is no point missing an opportunity to sneak a woollen sweater vest into the basket. The wooden panelling of the men’s section tries to fool you into thinking you’re in Tommy HIlfiger, but despite having the money for it, the Tommy Hilfiger store is out of town and mum won’t let you ride the bus on your own.

The buoy decorations fool no one, just like even St Andrews’ balls can’t kid us into believing they know how to have a good time. But why should St Andrews dress up in regular young-person high street brands? They’re the oldest university in Scotland you know and anyone who says otherwise needs to do their research.

Bath – Hollister

It’s 2015 and so far, Bath has resisted all temptation to fall into the Bristol trap of bucket hats, ket spoons and aggressive techno. Bath is a place of simple pleasures, where second years still hang out in the union, drinking snakebites and chatting about the £1 pints in Molloys. Girls drink pumpkin spiced lattes and freak out when new emojis drop. Hollister is simple. It’s primary colours and big logos, it’s a big seagull that screams “I grew up in the home counties and would probably be alright to take home to your parents” – it’s uncool in the least threatening way possible.

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Birmingham – Fred Perry

Avoiding blending in with the locals as much as possible, it’s nice to dress things up with a little bit of Fred Perry. The classic burgundy polo shirt hasn’t let you down so far, and it goes really nicely with your navy trackies plastered with the UoB logo. Friday night rolls around and nothing tops off your shirt and jeans for Propaganda quite like your prized possession: the Fred Perry bomber jacket. Chavvy chic at its finest.

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Bristol – Ellesse

Behind that word doc of your dissertation lies an array of boiler room sets, vintage jumpers for sale on Wavey Garms and Amazon Prime orders of buckwheat and kale. Yeah the Ellesse looks old, but you bought it in reading week of first year – along with everyone else. Perfect for the only uni in the UK where you can be both truly alternative and exactly the same as everybody else.

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Brookes – Tommy Hilfiger

You complete your try hard preppy look by popping on some Tommy, just like you’ve gone to Brookes so you can pretend you’re posh and smash champagne bottles on the floor because you just don’t give a fuck. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone you popped off to Bista last weekend to stock up on your TH. You just keep telling people you’re at Oxford.

Cardiff – New Look

Cheap and cheerful. Except we stopped looking cheerful passed out in the pile of bin bags next to Chippy Alley. Off yellow was a good choice for that bodycon, it hides the curry sauce all down your front well. If your other heel wasn’t cemented to the upstairs carpet in Glam you’d look pretty good.

Durham – Crew

Why try and dress individually when you can don the oars on your shirt and merge into the background of your future law conversion taking peers, a sea of ‘yahs’ bursting forth from a comfort zone of slim-fit Oxford cotton from which you will never attempt, or desire, to leave. Flip flops and coloured chinos are a cliched, but completely accurate, addition.

Plus you may as well advertise rowing on your shirt – Durham is great at rowing, probably because it loves its early nights.

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Edinburgh – Burberry

One of the oldest and most established unis in the country, Edinburgh is high fashion with a Scottish twist. But just like Burberry,it’s mostly english and thinks far too much of itself. Having secret debating societies and the oldest student union in the country give the illusion of prestige in the same way that charging £200 for a scarf does.

Exeter – Barbour

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What better way to show that you grew up on your family’s country estate with your beloved horse Ribbons than with the ultimate home counties symbol: the Barbour jacket. Paired with your favourite pair of expensive wellies, it provides the perfect attire for when the Exeter weather is less than desirable.

From March to October, it should be paired with flip flops and slung over a pastel coloured shirt, and you mustn’t forget your signet ring. That way, fellow Hugo’s and Cressida’s will be able to find you easily.

Glasgow – Topshop

If Topshop made clubs, they’d be a lot like Viper. Over-familiar and slightly naff, yet it’s the bedrock upon which your week/wardrobe is built. Plus I can’t be the only who’s noticed every girl at Glasgow seems to own the same green coat from Topshop.

Hull – Primark 

Most say they hate it, but you know the real value of Primark. Cheap and cheerful, a lot like our beloved City of Culture. It’s pretty basic, but why make things complicated? It’s never let us down. Viva Hull.

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King’s – Dolce & Gabbana

Largely from abroad, dripping with money and smelling like the fine leather-bound books in Dumbledore’s office, the prestigious alumni of KCL are cut from a finer cloth. The King’s brand is just as important as the degree that comes with it. After all, your grandfather will eventually stop judging your Sociology degree if Prince William keeps turning up at the Maughan.

Just like Dolce & Gabbana, KCL’s in-house style is exotic, composed and enviable – even when you’re being carried out of Walkabout on a Thursday morning.

Lancaster – ASDA

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There’s no point spending a lot of money on clothes when you’re only going to spill MXE on them.

Leeds – Nike

Technicolor jacket? Check. Baggy harem pants? Check. Bag of suspicious-looking chemicals? Double-check. What’s that on my feet, you say? Oh, just my Air Maxes. They’re vintage.

The uni most often tarred with the brush of edginess, this powerhouse still can’t seem to cope with its newfound reputation. Leeds has suddenly found itself being trampled at Beaverworks when it used to be at home in a jumpers-as-goalposts Hyde Park kickabout.

Like Nike, Leeds can’t help but be mainstream – but like Nike, it just makes them try that much harder to be different. Remember Huaraches, anyone? Let’s face it: even if you buy all your vintage garms from Best and Blue Rinse, the Nikes will be as ever-present as the old money background you’re trying to hide.

Liverpool – River Island

Yes you have a trashy side, but your rep is becoming increasingly edgy. Sometimes, you’re a sucker for bodycon dresses and sky-high stillettos, jumbo lashes and booty shorts. But some nights you just wanna rock out in Chibuku grubby trainers and vibsey sportswear.  

London – All Saints

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Overrated and overpriced, London students can’t get enough of their blurry covered black and white printed t-shirts. Just within the £30 bracket, they’re cheap enough to afford and expensive enough that people will know all your loan isn’t being completely absorbed by your rent.

Just like a Pret, the quality might be good, but does anyone really care?

Loughborough – Kukri

You’re meant to leave uniforms behind at school, but there’s no escape here. Whether part of rugby, football, hockey, netball, golf or ultimate frisbee, clones show off their sporting credentials in the purple-tinged sports stash like members of a niche religious cult. The gym is their altar and Sonny Bill Williams their God. Pair with flip flops and a protein shake for the ultimate Lufbra look.

Manchester – American Apparel

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Super sexy, intentionally controversial and really fucking edgy.  You want to look like you’ve been digging in a charity shop, but you’ve actually just forked out £85 for that bobbly black jumper that you can’t even wash. Teeny metallic halternecks and skin-tight trousers can take you from lectures to Pangaea, with a fag-stained baggy sweatshirt “effortlessly” layered ontop.

Newcastle – Adidas originals

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The epitome of the sportswear-turned-clubwear look, Adidas is a brand that shows you have the dollar to splash, but also probably a bag of ket in your pocket. Be it the big logo tees for the daytime, or the signature zippy hoodie for your trip to Digi – you have a lot of fun and want everyone to know it.

Norwich – Hello Kitty

Why can’t everyone just be happy all the time? I mean, we are. With a child-like cheerfulness that’ll never leave us, we’ll let you know how much fun we’’re having through endless chants of “OH, UEA IS WONDERFUL”, right in your face. Like a matching set of pink Hello Kitty pyjamas, the infectious joy of life at UEA is bound to leave a smile on your face. The country views are lovely, the lake is lovely, the Brutalist architecture is extra-lovely – even the swans are lovely when they’re not attacking you.

A word of warning, though – your slippers will need to be made of stern stuff to survive the LCR floor.

Nottingham – Ralph Lauren

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Not as edgy as Leeds, not as wild as Trent, Nottingham is forever stuck in the twilight zone between a really messy uni and a really cool one. Not edgy enough for the likes of Stussy or WESC, not poly enough for Topman, Ralphy is a safe pair of hands. The kids that go to the Bakery are the big checked ones, bought from a vintage shop where it still costs £35 secondhand. But over at Coco-Tang and in the formals on campus, it’s smarter and crisper but still very Ralph.

Oxford – Austin Reed

Solid sophistication. Undeterred by the derisory remarks made in passing by your friends and colleagues who think a “statement jacket” qualifies as stylish or classy, you march on. If someone has an issue they should have the bottle to come to the scratch and leave it all on the table. Or Queensbury, if you prefer. Bare knuckle boxing aside, your matching cufflinks exude understated brilliance.

Reading – Gap

There isn’t much to make Reading stand out from the rest: perfectly agreeable, thoroughly uncontroversial and almost London… but not quite. Gap is fine. Gap is comfortable, safe and isn’t going to raise any eyebrows, just like Reading.

Royal Holloway – Christian Louboutin

Expensive and impractical (have you tried going on a night out in London?), at least you can be reassured you’ve picked the most aesthetically pleasing option. Also, let’s face it: the mangled pronunciations of Louboutin you’ll get from the less refined freshers arriving each year is eerily similar to how many times you’ll over-hear someone mispronouncing the name of an international student this year.

Sheffield – North Face

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Are you edgy? Or are you practical and down for legit activities in the Peaks? Probably a little bit of both. You enjoy wavey garms in da club as much as getting away for a dirty weekend. Hoodie, gilet or walking boots. You own it.

Strathclyde – H&M

You scrub up well, but dressing up isn’t your main forte. Why waste precious dolla on clothes when you could be having fun? Casual-wear is where you really shine – skinny jeans, simple-tees, pristine trainers and comfy knits for the blistering weather.

Sussex

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Branded clothes? Sussex doesn’t believe in brands.

To remain as eco-friendly, cruelty-free and all round green as is humanly possible, Sussex is every independent, thrift and charity shop by the sea front. No labels, no sweat shops, and certainly no leather.

Trent – Matalan

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Fancy dress needs white t-shirts and Trent needs fancy dress. Without Wednesday nights, what would uni be? When they’re not clad in cheap clothes of the opposite sex in Ocean, smashing Jägerpints and missing 9ams on Thursdays, it’s the turn off slogan t-shirts, vintage 80s film posters made into hoodies and comfy pyjamas for the hangover days. Yeah it’s tacky as shit, but I bet the first time you saw a “sex, drugs and sausage rolls” t-shirt you laughed too.

UCLan – Boohoo

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Bodycon dresses, fake tan, heels and fake eyelashes. The glamorous outfits that look so great on the Boohoo website and then turn out to be bad quality, ill-fitting and all round terrible embody the anticipation of a really great night out, getting dressed up to the nines, and then realising you’re still in Preston.

UWE – Reebok

Bristol students can try to look “wavy” in their shit vintage buys, but everyone knows we’ve always been more Classic.

Warwick – Next

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As a university, Warwick does all the essentials. By that, we mean it gives you a degree. Its approach to this is pretty much the same as Next’s approach to clothes: they cover up your naughty bits. Apart from that basic requirement, both are completely characterless, lacking in identity and exactly what your mum would pick if you let her make every decision for you.

York – Jack Wills

It’s like being back in sixth-form, and we’re absolutely fine with it. You’ll get no nose-rings and hi-tops here, no sir: it’s henley collars and logo gilets all the way. We’ll ramble down The Shambles in our trackies and Barbour jackets, and we’ll look bloody good while we’re doing it.

You might say that York looks like it was dressed by its mum – you might even say we should have called time on Jack Wills shirts by the time Willow shut down. But there’s some things that never die, like the grand old Uni of York.
And pink chinos.