Elitist and exclusive? Well it is the Harvard range

For years, the university has been striving to shed its highbrow image. But a new clothing range may undo the hard work

Students returning to the hallowed hallways and gossipy corridors of Harvard University this week will surely be drawn into the pressing debate of the day. Is it appropriate that an Ivy League institution that has been striving for years to shed its elitist image should be lending its name to a fashion line that screams old-school elitist?

It could all be a storm in a seamstress's thimble, but controversy continues to grow since officials who oversee trademark agreements for the university confirmed they had done a deal with a New York fashion group called Wearwolf to create a preppy (and pricey) line of men's clothing bearing the name Harvard Yard.

They argued that the arrangement directly undermines the efforts made over several years by the admissions department to diversify the student population on the campus in Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston, and extinguish once and for all the damaging notion that Harvard puts pedigree and money over brilliance and brains.

There is no stopping the Harvard Yard brand now, however. The first items should start showing up in shops sometime next spring. There will be snappy men's shirts for $160 (£97) and swell blazers redolent of a bygone era for an even less modest $495. There will be no actual Harvard University insignia, but the plaid and tartan designs will be distinguishable by such detailing as crimson stitching around the buttonholes.

Probably, no one at Harvard or Wearwolf, had any idea the kind of kerfuffle the agreement would stir. After all, the university, like many others, has been trading on its unique brand with similar fashion-wear agreements for years. But the reaction was swift. J.P Stiltz, who, slightly unfortunately, plays for the Harvard's polo team, expressed his discomfort to the Harvard Crimson, the university newspaper. "I think it's going to be bad for Harvard's image. We already have an image that all of our students are aristocratic, preppy bastards, frankly. So as an undergraduate student I'm kind of taken aback a little bit that that's going to be happening."

The discussion quickly caught the imagination of bloggers and before long had become fodder for the late night television shows. "Harvard University is launching a new clothing line called Harvard Yard," Jimmy Fallon, the comedian and actor, began one of the jokes. "Of course the clothes are really hard to get into, unless your father wears them first."

Comments by Jeffery Wolf, an executive at Wearwolf, may not have helped. "Harvard is the ideal, the pinnacle," he told Bloomberg News. "When you think of modern prep, you think of New England and the Northeast. You think campus, quad, and you think Harvard.""

Harvard cannot be blamed for wanting to make extra money. Its endowment plunged by $8bn after the the financial catastrophe last October. But the irony is that all the money it expects to raise from the deal will go towards the financial aid fund that helps provide scholarships to students from underprivileged families.

That may be one reason why the Crimson has expressed its own impatience with the brouhaha, publishing a testy editorial under the headline, 'Peddling Preppy Pants'. "The reality is that Harvard is rightly doing everything in its power to ensure the well-being of its own financial-aid program. Claims that a couple of pricey jackets and khakis here and there will lead to "exclusion" miss the point."

News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?