Merch: More Than Just a Sweatshirt

Paloma Hissong, Staff Writer

Seattle Prep without merch is unimaginable. No students wearing Prep sweatshirts all around campus, no Senior Skirts, and no team hoodies or warm-up outfits. However, this was a reality many years ago – with the exception of the letterman jacket. From the 70s to the early 2000s, Seattle Prep’s spirit wear was centralized around the letterman jacket, according to alumni and current track coach Deino Scott.

Scott said, “I was [a student] here when it was all boys. So in that context, back then, spirit wear didn’t really exist. So just having it now is amazing. Our student store, for example, only sold textbooks. The closest thing we had to spirit gear was our letterman jackets.”

Today, Panther Place sells a variety of spirit wear options for students and faculty. Each year the options change – in fact, this year, Prep started selling a new blue and white Nike windbreaker. The windbreakers are easy to spot throughout campus, but if students do not have one of those, they likely have one of the classics: Prep crewnecks, sweatpants, or some Prep pajamas.

Junior Sophia Kennedy said, “I think the merch right now is really good. I would say it’s getting better each year. My freshmen year I remember liking a couple sweatshirts and the pajama pants, but now there are literally 10 things I’m barely stopping myself from buying.”

When asked what she wishes Panther Place would start selling, Kennedy said, “some big fuzzy Prep slippers.” Considering how often students wear other types of slippers to school, these would likely be a hit.

Spirit wear is not a necessity for any school – and four decades ago having any of it was rare – but it certainly helps build community. Now that students have so many choices of Prep-branded clothes to buy, the hope is that at least one of these clothing items will stick with the student for many years to come. When Coach Scott was asked if he still had his varsity letterman jacket, he replied, “I still have it. I still have all the patches. It was special to me… I mean, it was a badge of honor.”