That's interesting. I guess I can only compare midwestern colleges. I hardly ever see Arc'teryx ever around here (except on my own body). In my four years of school from 2010-2014 (I'm a youngin) I seemed to see Patagonia take over North Face as the "in" outerwear brand. Was sort of excited to see what was trending now when I was back for my brothers graduation last week, but we were having record highs in Ohio at the time.
I have a 15 year old Stepdaughter and whenever I have been to school events or seen a group of her classmates there, Patagonia and North Face are widely represented. She straddles the groups of athletes and debate kids. So, I think the appeal of them is universal. There also seems to be much less "hipster" stuff and her taste (and some of her friends) seems to be moving to Preppy along with the Patagonia/North Face / Nike stuff. She loves Vineyard Vines, Southern Tradition, J. Crew, Polo, etc. It was funny, she saw some J. Crew stuff that I bought to sell a while ago, before I knew better, and was telling me all about it as if her generation was the first to find J. Crew.
I hope her move to preppy has been as a result of my influence, but I'm sure she would deny it. I was very excited when she told me she really wanted a Navy Blue Blazer for debate. AND she insisted that it be wool and have gold buttons.