Students retaliate against Carhartt beanie ban

On Monday, Oct. 29, Hope College’s new ban on Carhartt beanies went into effect.

According to an email sent out to the student body, the decision to implement this new policy was made due to the fact that it was getting too difficult for professors to distinguish between their students.

“They all wear that same exact hat every single day,” said exasperated Professor Oliver Fleming of the English Department. “They’ve been doing that for years, but with masks covering half of their faces now, too, I have no idea who anyone is anymore.”

As masks are a necessary safety measure, the administration was left to focus on the role that the beanies play in this situation. Ultimately, they decided that it would be best to simply take them out of the equation.

Many students are in an uproar about the decision to ban one of the most popular accessories amongst the student body. The girls in particular have been angered by the new policy.

“It’s so stupid. I look nothing like the other girls in my classes. I mean, Sophia always wears that ugly orange one and I wouldn’t be caught dead in that color,” said freshman Kayleigh Smith.

Sophomore Jacob Walker is also not happy with the new policy. However, rather than being mad at the college, his annoyance is directed more toward the students who wore the beanies so frequently that it became an issue.

“Most of these basic people probably never even put one on until they came here and realized it’s part of the ‘Hope College uniform,’” Walker said. “I grew up on a farm. Carhartt was just what we wore, because that’s who the brand was made for in the first place. I don’t get how it became fashionable, but now I can’t even wear my hats.”

Others students are simply mad about the school trying to control what they can and cannot wear.

“It’s absurd. We’re not in high school anymore. The school shouldn’t have any say in my wardrobe,” said junior Catherine Jarboe. “Plus it’s so cold out and they choose now to take away our hats? It’s like they want us to freeze or something.”

This backlash from students seems to have been somewhat unexpected by the administration. Staff members have been quick to make it clear that they are not taking away students’ ability to keep warm in the colder months.

“It’s not like we said they can’t wear beanies to keep warm at all,” said Sandra Wilson, who works in the dean’s office. “There are other brands out there, whether they’re aware of it or not.”

Still, students are stuck on the Carhartt brand. The fixation on this one brand name has led some students to start taping pieces of paper with the Carhartt logo drawn on them to the fronts of generic beanies. 

For some students, like Smith, this is a desperate attempt to cling to the identity given to them by the beanie.

“I just feel so naked without it,” Smith said. “It’s, like, a part of my signature look, ya know? I just don’t feel like myself when I’m not wearing one of my Carhartts.”

For other students, the paper logo is their way of protesting the ban.

“If they want to take away our autonomy, fine. But there’s no rule against drawing the logo ourselves,” Jarboe said.

One student, senior Elliot Collins, has taken it a step further and figured out a way to profit off of the current situation. A studio art major, Collins has started making and selling patches with the Carhartt logo on them for students to attach to plain beanies. However, the knock-offs are so convincing that some professors have started confiscating hats with the patches, too.

Despite the push-back they have received, the administration is not backing down on this matter. In fact, Dean Frost has allegedly been seen hanging around the Pine Grove, snatching the beanies directly off of students’ heads as they walk by.

“The students’ obsession with them was just getting out of hand,” Fleming said. “It’s honestly for their own good. Maybe this will give them the opportunity to learn how to actually accessorize.”

The college is remaining firm in their decision to ban the beanies. However, as tensions around the issue continue to rise, all eyes will be on the administration to see how they respond.

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