Tuesday, 29 December 2009

All Right, Jack?

Pottering around Durham, I meandered into what used to be Oxfam, but was originally Gray and Sons, Outfitters to the University. Gray's now has much smaller premises near the bus station. And the shop on Saddler Street is now a branch of Jack Wills, "University Outfitters".

I had been in the habit of calling it "Jack West". But having now been in it, I can assure you that tinned salmon is a stranger to the customer base. Ninety quid for a pair of jeans. No recession for some. Durham is so much Sloanier than it was 10 or 12 years ago. Friends returning to the place always remark on this, and they are right.

Jack Wills not only does not sell academic regalia, or indeed anything official such as college scarfs or college cufflinks. When it comes to scarfs, sports team attire such as rugby shirts, and perhaps even the more select little items as well, it peddles its own. All right, I doubt that that extends to blazer badges or boater ribbons. But you never know.

Yet who, being the type to wish to wear the attire available from a University Outfitter, would be seen dead in the pastiche peddled by, and advertising, a chain - a chain - of denim-mongers? Buying the real thing would save them a fortune. But then, they obviously have a fortune to waste.


  1. The latest store opened last month. In Eton.

  2. The Eton website currently informs the world that "The Public Schools Rackets championships continues".