LIT student Spencer Sudds writes about the fashion landscape of his university town, Limerick compared to that of his home country, Canada.

The three-stripe craze

I have lived in Ireland for four months and have had the pleasure to see and discover some of the amazing countryside, popular tourists destinations (including a few pubs), as well as observing what I call the three-stripe craze.

Before I begin to explain this craze, I must tell you that I come from a culturally diverse country — Canada. In Canada, there are numerous cultures with each culture offering unique and creative things that others can share, learn and enjoy. I have observed many different fashion styles regarding students my age. However, I’ve never seen anything quite like Ireland.

A view along the quay in Limerick City showing the water, and buildings surround it

Photo by Luke Curley.

Canadian student fashion

In Canada, there are a few different student ‘types’, in relation to fashion. Some students will go to college having spent three hours on makeup, washing and drying their hair and putting on their fanciest outfit to attend a three-hour lecture and then go back home. I am not putting down these students — Feeling good and looking good truly boosts your confidence and if that confidence boost helps you get your passing grade, more students should do it!

Other student ‘types’ include those who woke up late (as a result of doing lots of homework all night, I’m sure) and scramble to find the nearest, and most comfortable clothes they can find. For most, these clothes are track pants and an oversized hoodie. I truly admire these students because they are the most comfortable and practical out of all the student ‘types’.

Sometimes, the more dedicated fashion students will make a few remarks towards the comfortable students and vice versa. For me, I usually try to plan my outfit the night before so I am not stressing and scrambling to find something in the morning. The outfit is usually a pair of jeans that have a few tears and rips in them (yes grandma, I paid for my jeans to have holes in them) as well as a T-shirt or hoodie depending on the weather.

Therefore, if you walk along any Canadian college campus, there will be a variety of students wearing a range of outfits. Wearing a hat and mittens during Canadian winters is strangely seen as ‘uncool’ as apparently, Canadian students still believe this fact from when they were told it in the fifth grade.

Two images of typical tracksuits, the one on the left with three stripes down the sleeve

Irish student fashion

In Ireland, I assume there are different ‘student types’ in relation to fashion as well. However, there is one ‘student type’ that seems to dominate the others; these are the ‘comfortable students’. This three-stripe craze involves students owning and wearing multiple tracksuits. Male and female students seem to love wearing their runners (running shoes), their trackies (track pants) and their jumper (hoodie).

Now, as a stressed and impatient student, wearing comfortable clothes as often as you possibly can makes sense to me! However, there are some days I wish to wear my overpriced ripped jeans to school but end up sticking out like a sore thumb. Despite this, I still wear my jeans, hoping to inspire other local Irish students and demolish this three-stripe craze. If there are any Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister or American Eagle endorsement deals out there, please notify the recruiting officers of this blog post and have them contact me!

For now, this three-stripe craze continues to dominate the halls. For the brand conscious consumer, the most popular brand containing the three stripe track pants is that of O’Neills. I highly recommend that any future international students who are studying fashion and have a particular interest in designing track suits, to study in Ireland and give O’Neills and Adidas some competition.

Comfort is key

As the end of the first semester quickly approaches, having lots of assignments and presentations to complete, I find myself among the ‘comfortable student’ type and joining in on the craze, which allows me to frantically sprint to the classroom before the exam starts. LONG LIVE O’NEILLS!