The Great Stash Debate
TOMMY SHANE and SEBASTIAN SALEK talk stash – hot or not?
You can’t walk ten metres in Cambridge without coming across someone wearing something university-branded, but do they make you cool? Or a CamTool? Tommy Shane, fashion editor, and Sebastian Salek, opinion editor, discuss.
TOMMY SHANE argues that we should embrace stash as part of Cantab culture.
Cambridge apparel can evoke warm glows of admiration, stings of pride, and rabidly licentious sexual advances – and it is for all of these reasons that it’s fun to show off the fact that we go to Cambridge. But while this may form our guilty pleasure, there is a more serious point to it, too. Wearing the Cambridge logo marks us as part of a community – one that has shared a unique and privileged experience.
At the boat race, for example, all the college scarves and crew jumpers that filled the riversides weren’t the stuff of pompous elitism (contrary to what Trenton Oldfield might have you believe). It was a demonstration of support for our university rivalry – a rivalry that, unlike many Russell Group-polytechnic rivalries, has nothing to do with elitism and snobbery. It was a chance to show support and pride in our alma mater, just as almost every other student in the country does with their university.
However, what it also shows is that there is a time and a place. As fashion guru and all-round role model Ron Burgundy once counseled us, tasteful discretion is the name of the game. In keeping with this philosophy, it is possible to wear the Cambridge badge without rubbing others’ noses in it.
Wearing things like college ties or small-logo sweatshirts is a deft way avoiding projecting an awful impression of yourself, and it also shows you aint no pretender tourist. That means no bright pink hoodies with Cambridge written all over it in bold, WordArt fonts.
Granted, even just wearing some very discreet cufflinks can make you look like a pompous twat, but ultimately you’re either a twat or you’re not, and that’s going to be decided by how you act, not what you wear. If someone is going to make an irrevocable judgement about you because you’re wearing stash from your uni, then they can fuck off.
Be subtle. Be graceful. But don’t be embarrassed of being a Cantabrigian.
SEBASTIAN SALEK argues that stash makes you look like a dick.
During a lapse of confidence over impending Tripos results the other day, a friend of mine reminded me that it wouldn’t be long before we go home for the summer and cement ourselves once again within the top percentile for intelligence in our respective towns.
The thing to remember is that studying at Oxbridge – and therefore carrying with you the reputation of being a bit of a smartypants – requires a certain amount of humbleness.
Whether you intend it or not, to a lot of people, waltzing around your hometown with ‘Cambridge University’ emblazoned on your chest like some sort of crap superhero is only going to make you look like a bit of a show-off. You can’t really expect the general public to understand stash culture unless you live in Oxford, in which case you and your CURUFC hoodie are just asking for trouble…
On the other hand, be too specific with the wording on your garment of choice and no one will have the foggiest what you’re wearing and why. Whilst ordering stash for the Clare Ents committee, we realised that, outside of Cambridge, those two words mean absolutely nothing and probably look a bit ridiculous. This is beautifully illustrated by the sheer number of emails I used to receive addressed ‘Dear Ms Ents’.
Having said this, the curious concoction of modesty and embarrassment – the one that leads us to claim that we’re studying sociology at Newcastle in any conversation taking place outside a two-mile radius of Great St Mary’s – has to stop somewhere.
I tend to wear my college scarf at home because, minus the discreet crest that is usually tactfully covered by some sort of jacket, there’s nothing else to suggest that I’m the sort of person that the Daily Mail brand as a privileged posho who will one day reign supreme over everyone.
However, anything bolder than this really should just stay within the bubble. You don’t wear your gown at the dinner table at home and you wouldn’t go to your granddad’s eightieth in a drinking society tie, so put that rowing blazer into your trunk and leave stash to those who feel they have something to prove.