The Culture of 'Puffas'

Image courtesy of Kent Union Activities | Facebook

Since university apparel time began, puffers have emerged on the University of Kent campus. It is autumn term, so we parade around in ‘puffas’, as they are informally called. Do we like the idea we are part of a brand, or that we are a part of a team? Is it another skin or another part of our identity?

Those moments when your eyes meet the sea of university sports ‘puffas’ in the library café, it is like a scene out of High School Musical as the ‘puffas’ join together at the front of the library. Are we just being too ‘clothed’ minded with our expression?

Felix Morgan, a member of the University of Kent Men’s Hockey, says “puffer jackets are good because they can give you a sense of pride whether representing your team or university. The same mentality can be seen with all the rugby squads during the Six Nations and the World Cup.” Therefore, ‘puffa’ coats are not a jacket of arrogance, but a social tool to meet like-minded people from a variety of sports across campus. A symbol of one’s love for a specific sport.

Another University of Kent athlete expressed: “I wear a sports puffer jacket mostly to keep warm, but there is the added bonus that is advertising the society as most puffers have the society name on the back.”

Although university should be a time to experiment with clothes as a form of expression, it is clear the sea of ‘puffas’ is a marketing tool for both current and external students. She continues to say: “I think they have most definitely become a bit of a fashion trend in the present day. But, ‘puffas’ aren’t just about fashion, they also represent an achievement for the owner as some sports jackets allow the player to put their team on the back.”

Owners of university sports ‘puffas’ should not be looked at as a cult, but purely as sporting individuals who have worked hard to earn a position on a team. They can be seen as a uniform and “there is also something about puffas that make you feel more part of a family”. ‘Puffas’ stands not only for the hard work and accomplishment it has taken to be a member of a team, but they also represent a sense of belonging.

This article is part of our one-off edition of IQ Magazine, out from November the 29th 2019. Pick up the magazine on campus in our InQuire distribution bins in Keynes, Co-op, the Templeman library and other locations on campus.