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Random Fashion Thoughts (Part 3: Style farmer strikes back) - our general discussion thread

FrankCowperwood

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Ah okay. I went to the best Ivy (Utah State University) and they gave out scholarships for sports. Regardless, preferential treatment to students for things that have a correlation to class is regressive imo - scholarship or not
Fair enough. But pretty much the entire process of selection to elite schools is correlated to class, even when there's a veneer of diversity otherwise.
 

troika

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I'm not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but one of the biggest factors is that even non-profit schools are out to bring value and differentiation to their institution. Sports bring in a huge amount of money, prestige, and alumni engagement. The ROI on athletics scholarships is pretty huge over time.

I don't mind any of this if they can prove that the "donations" and extra profit is going to scholarships. It's almost certainly not, which is the shitty part.
 

Callusing

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Does 10 to 15% of Princeton really need scholarships to sports like crew? If there has ever been a regressive scholarship system that rewards the rich, it’s awarding scholarships to sports with staggeringly high cost barriers to entry. I wonder how many Ivy League students actually feel their experience was enriched by rowing and sailing teams?
So I'll at least correct the record on this one, because Princeton was the Ivy I went to.
  • Princeton's financial aid is 100% need-based. They do not provide any scholarships based on merit. The degree of financial aid Princeton provides is entirely based on household income, where if household income is <$75,000, you go for free, if it is >$250,000 you pay the full ride, and it's on a roughly logarithmic scale between those two extremes.
  • I rowed crew for a bit, picking it up briefly in high school. I did not come from a wealthy family - my family paid $10,000/yr to send me to Princeton. I rowed for 2 months at Princeton then stopped because I chose to focus on other activities. The point of rowing crew, or playing lax, or joining any team at an Ivy has relatively little to do with the actual athletic activity and more to do with developing networks through your teammates. (There are of course exceptions. The team I was briefly on would later go to win worlds, and many of them are past / current Olympic hopefuls.) The teams make major efforts to facilitate this, and if you are a 4-year varsity athlete in either a major sport (basketball / football / etc.) or an elite sport (crew / squash / etc.), you will not even have to apply for a job after college because you will have one lined up, if you so choose, by the middle of your Junior year.
  • This exacerbates a key problem with the Ivies today (which I mentioned before), which is that they have effectively become pre-professional training for management consulting and finance. As I recall, ~60% of Princeton graduates go into one of those two industries, and it is primarily the 60% who entered the school either from athletics or from well-off backgrounds. The students who "move up" into these industries are either academically exceptional or developed the necessary networks through student groups or athletics. The job opportunities mentioned in the second bullet are disproportionately in these two industries.
  • As Frank noted, this same sort of thing happens with pretty much any extracurricular activity at an Ivy, from social clubs to theatre groups to acapella. Even with all the arm-twisting that might occur, nearly everybody at Princeton is pretty exceptional at something, and deep investment in those somethings can usually lead to post-graduation opportunities. The fact is that even if wealth is the reason a Princeton kid could go to TJ, that doesn't change the fact that he's already been doing calculus for three years by the time he enters, plays two instruments and a varsity sport at a high level, and legitimately is in the upper echelon of the population across multiple measures of performance. An elite background facilitates that.
I do not believe the Ivies, in their current iteration, produce exceptional graduates so much as they make it easier for people who would do well regardless of where they went to school to ensure they do very well instead of just well. And this is reflected, just from my observations, when you stratify what graduates do by the incomes of their families - the ones who usually look like "Ivy grads" are the ones who already came from elite backgrounds, and the ones who were less well-off still do well (and certainly have an easier time than they would have if they'd gone to a smaller-name school) but not as well.

It's like a Harvard MBA. You don't get a Harvard MBA for the degree or the education. You get it for the network. Which is why people who go to get an HMBA but who lack either the skills or propensity to hobnob (most often those from humbler backgrounds) often struggle both during and after school more than their peers.

Princeton is a bit worse in all these regards than most Ivies for a couple idiosyncratic reasons. But I know this is all largely true for at least Penn, Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale, and I assume for the rest as well.

One of the biggest issues is that the sort of person Ivies tend to attract, and the sort of education they tend to provide, disproportionately produces highly competent assholes. But, as many others have written, this is a predictable consequence of attracting people who have never faced significant hardship or challenges, equipping them with obviously exceptional skills, and then unleashing them upon the world.

As a final caveat, this is particularly unfortunate because the Ivies do legitimately contain some of the most exceptional academic departments available anywhere. My mechanical engineering undergraduate degree literally covered the material of a typical undergraduate program and a typical Master's program within four years. Our hard science programs regularly produce people who go on to innovate in their fields. Our research programs are among the best in the world. I am happy I went to Princeton, and do not for a moment wish I went anywhere else. But for the majority of the student body, these elements are irrelevant.
 

mmmargeologist

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So I'll at least correct the record on this one, because Princeton was the Ivy I went to.
  • Princeton's financial aid is 100% need-based. They do not provide any scholarships based on merit. The degree of financial aid Princeton provides is entirely based on household income, where if household income is <$75,000, you go for free, if it is >$250,000 you pay the full ride, and it's on a roughly logarithmic scale between those two extremes.
  • I rowed crew for a bit, picking it up briefly in high school. I did not come from a wealthy family - my family paid $10,000/yr to send me to Princeton. I rowed for 2 months at Princeton then stopped because I chose to focus on other activities. The point of rowing crew, or playing lax, or joining any team at an Ivy has relatively little to do with the actual athletic activity and more to do with developing networks through your teammates. (There are of course exceptions. The team I was briefly on would later go to win worlds, and many of them are past / current Olympic hopefuls.) The teams make major efforts to facilitate this, and if you are a 4-year varsity athlete in either a major sport (basketball / football / etc.) or an elite sport (crew / squash / etc.), you will not even have to apply for a job after college because you will have one lined up, if you so choose, by the middle of your Junior year.
  • This exacerbates a key problem with the Ivies today (which I mentioned before), which is that they have effectively become pre-professional training for management consulting and finance. As I recall, ~60% of Princeton graduates go into one of those two industries, and it is primarily the 60% who entered the school either from athletics or from well-off backgrounds. The students who "move up" into these industries are either academically exceptional or developed the necessary networks through student groups or athletics. The job opportunities mentioned in the second bullet are disproportionately in these two industries.
  • As Frank noted, this same sort of thing happens with pretty much any extracurricular activity at an Ivy, from social clubs to theatre groups to acapella. Even with all the arm-twisting that might occur, nearly everybody at Princeton is pretty exceptional at something, and deep investment in those somethings can usually lead to post-graduation opportunities. The fact is that even if wealth is the reason a Princeton kid could go to TJ, that doesn't change the fact that he's already been doing calculus for three years by the time he enters, plays two instruments and a varsity sport at a high level, and legitimately is in the upper echelon of the population across multiple measures of performance. An elite background facilitates that.
I do not believe the Ivies, in their current iteration, produce exceptional graduates so much as they make it easier for people who would do well regardless of where they went to school to ensure they do very well instead of just well. And this is reflected, just from my observations, when you stratify what graduates do by the incomes of their families - the ones who usually look like "Ivy grads" are the ones who already came from elite backgrounds, and the ones who were less well-off still do well (and certainly have an easier time than they would have if they'd gone to a smaller-name school) but not as well.

It's like a Harvard MBA. You don't get a Harvard MBA for the degree or the education. You get it for the network. Which is why people who go to get an HMBA but who lack either the skills or propensity to hobnob (most often those from humbler backgrounds) often struggle both during and after school more than their peers.

Princeton is a bit worse in all these regards than most Ivies for a couple idiosyncratic reasons. But I know this is all largely true for at least Penn, Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale, and I assume for the rest as well.

One of the biggest issues is that the sort of person Ivies tend to attract, and the sort of education they tend to provide, disproportionately produces highly competent assholes. But, as many others have written, this is a predictable consequence of attracting people who have never faced significant hardship or challenges, equipping them with obviously exceptional skills, and then unleashing them upon the world.

As a final caveat, this is particularly unfortunate because the Ivies do legitimately contain some of the most exceptional academic departments available anywhere. My mechanical engineering undergraduate degree literally covered the material of a typical undergraduate program and a typical Master's program within four years. Our hard science programs regularly produce people who go on to innovate in their fields. Our research programs are among the best in the world. I am happy I went to Princeton, and do not for a moment wish I went anywhere else. But for the majority of the student body, these elements are irrelevant.
Dude I appreciate the effort but this is a lot to read.
 

Alexidb

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Can't speak for the US but at Cambridge at least the vast majority of college rowers were new to the sport. That some subjects may have been designed to import yanks for the Boat Race crews is a different matter but we accept it as an oddity of the system. Anecdotally a friend learnt to sail at MIT.
Learning to sail at MIT is fairly common, actually if you’re at one of the colleges on either side of the river there are lots of opportunities to sail. I had more then one instructor/professor who had access to a boat, going sailing was considered good mingling. And if you were gay it was a great way to get a free vacation. If you could afford to get to The Cape, Nantucket, or MV in the summer that was highly advised to make connections. And I went to art school, not business school.
 

Callusing

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Anybody actually own any Greg Lauren? Ignoring the insane prices, is the stuff any good? Anything remarkable about it other than the design?

I keep coming back to his studio shirts every 6 months. I know they're probably crap, and the'll probably look stupid 2 years from now. But sometimes they look so damn good.

 

dieworkwear

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Anybody actually own any Greg Lauren? Ignoring the insane prices, is the stuff any good? Anything remarkable about it other than the design?

I keep coming back to his studio shirts every 6 months. I know they're probably crap, and the'll probably look stupid 2 years from now. But sometimes they look so damn good.


I met one of his design assistants once, who's this incredibly nice guy who's sort of a jack of all trades. He's a fashion design assistant, film special effects persons, and motorcycle ... tinkerer? I was interested in trying to build my own motorcycle once and someone introduced me to him since he builds cafe racers. Guy is super down to earth and not what his resume sounds like at all. Not really a fashion person and not the sort of burly "motorcycle" guy you'd expect.

Here he is in a giant set of vampire teeth he made for a halloween costume. This is the kind of stuff he makes on his spare time

maxresdefault.jpg


Anyway, we hung out for a day and talked about what's involved in Greg Lauren's line. It's basically special effects work -- it's like he's building costumes for a horror film. The effects are pretty DIY and very experimental, but they're time and labor intensive. And this guy was brought on specifically cause he has experience working on special effects (he worked on Planet of the Apes, Men in Black II, Hellboy, and The Ring, among other things).

My impression, from having handled the garments at Barney's, is that the line is well-made. Although I also think almost everything in high-fashion is well-made and anything not "well-made" is intentionally done so for effect or to achieve a compromise the consumer can't easily discern. The only outright poorly made clothes I see are fast fashion brands or whatever. You're buying into the art and design for Greg Lauren. The aesthetic isn't really my thing, but I can appreciate the work and creativity that goes into it.
 

LA Guy

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I think people are a bit too mad about it, tbh. I think it's bad and these people should be prosecuted, but all the outrage right now feels over the top and more about how this is just as easy thing to point at. Unlike Fumma, I think the US system is more meritocratic than most, Other countries are much more protective of their class system. But it's true that we could be more meritocratic. Real problems in our system aren't about rich kids going to Yale or USC -- the 33 kids who got pushed out will still be fine in life. The real problems are more deep-seated and hidden, which I know everyone here knows. It's about school funding in poor communities, job prospects for people who graduate from state colleges (not Yale), and things like the prison system.

To me, this is like the fur debate in fashion. Fur is one of those things that easy for people to point to and be upset about because you don't have to give up anything. Few people own anything made from fur ("I'll never buy anything made from fur," says the person who was never going to buy anything made from fur anyway). Then there's this debate about whether leather is a simple byproduct of the meat trade (it is and isn't, as it's still part of the economy). But answering whether consuming leather is ethical, especially when it comes from baby cows, is a much harder question. So people get upset at fur and make up excuses for leather. IMO, it's the same with this school scandal. Easy to get mad at because we can prosecute people and feel like we, in some way, have been wronged. But harder to think how our middle-class upbringing comes with its own privileges, what a more meritocratic tax system would look like, and how we can privileged children in different schools based on real estate zones.
The outrage is a smokescreen. The real issue here is not that this is an assault on meritocracy, but that these elite private schools need to protect their property. If you can get in by being merely rich and bribing few people, you are really undermining the value of the admissions to the truly wealthy who more or less ensure their children's admissions with much larger donations than the sums paid by these individuals. Some star off of Full House doesn't really qualify as wealthy. Basically, 1%ers are the poors in this situation, and USC is really more about making sure that they can't backdoor admissions in a way that is generally reserved for the top 0.01%.

I personally believe that the Harvard Asian students case is pretty much the same thing. I think that it's less a problem with Asians being used as a model minority by the right and more of the left being used as a dupe to protect Harvard from a population that could upset its power structure.
 

bry2000

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Anybody actually own any Greg Lauren? Ignoring the insane prices, is the stuff any good? Anything remarkable about it other than the design?

I keep coming back to his studio shirts every 6 months. I know they're probably crap, and the'll probably look stupid 2 years from now. But sometimes they look so damn good.

It is really good stuff. High quality in my view (not crappy designer stuff) and design is well thought out, but very specific. Prices are very much elevated, but that is the case for all patchwork, reconstructed stuff (Kapital, Needles, RRL, rare weaves, etc).

I have a Greg Lauren flannel, a shirt sleeve summer weight shirt, a coat, and some other long coat/hoodie hybrid made from old tents.

I love each of these pieces, but candidly, they are very hard to wear with the rest of my stuff. I find I can mix and match designers pretty well (at least in my opinion), but Greg Lauren stuff is so particular, that it is hard to wear in everyday life. Maybe one day I will get a pair of GL trousers so I can do the full kit, but I often hate wearing one designer head to toe. And a full GL outfit would feel forced at least in me.
 
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Lorcan7

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Greg Lauren stuff seems nice enough although I always figured Greg's admission to the fashion world was maybe not entirely uhhh meritocratic, even if uncle Ralph wasn't exactly bribing retailers for a place
 

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