I have, over the course of the last few years at Penn, occasionally left my jacket behind at a party. It’s a huge pain in the ass. I can only imagine this problem is worse for people who frequent frat parties in nice clothing, so I sympathize with the motive behind the Frackit—a coat specifically for wearing out to frats—marketed and designed by two Penn students. The idea is that the Frackit is resilient, labeled and relatively inexpensive, so it’s hard to ruin or lose and less of a burden if tragedy does indeed strike.
It’s a nice idea, so it’s a shame that the Frackit is less of a new product and more of a demonstration of some of the worst parts of Penn culture. Let’s start with the name—Frackit, which is short for “frat jacket.” Careful readers may note that jacket is spelled with an “e,” while Frackit is spelled with an “i.” Assuming the entrepreneurs behind the Frackit know this too, the name is clearly meant to sound like fuck it. The implication is that losing your Frackit wouldn’t be a big deal, because it retails for only $45. Given the rest of its marketing (the Urban Dictionary entry that the founders obviously wrote is especially fun), and the fact that all Frackits look exactly the same except for a tiny label, it’s pretty clear that the Frackit is meant to be lost. We’re supposed to think of it in the same way as a plastic water bottle; it’s fine if you want to hold onto it for future use, but that’s hardly the point.
That is, to say the least, a fiscally irresponsible attitude to have towards a $45 article of clothing. It’s the attitude that says that as long as you can afford to waste something, there’s no reason to bother trying to preserve it, or in other words, the attitude of someone with more money than sense. That would be fine—parting fools from their money is pretty much the whole point of the fashion industry—except that this attitude is found all over the place at Penn, and it excludes people who don’t have the financial means to, say, throw away clothing. Which is, of course, the whole point. Everything about the Frackit—the explicit attempt to become a “frat brand,” the photos of undergrad “models” holding cups of alcohol, the launch party at Tap House—is meant to signal exclusivity. People aren’t buying Frackits because they want a durable, fashionable jacket at an affordable price. They can get that almost anywhere. People buy Frackits because they’ve got money and the right friends and they want you to know that their Thursday plans are better than yours.
on the Frackit notes that the founders turned to “family and friends for financial assistance” in starting the company. Of course they did. This is a product designed for people whose families can fund their startups and who genuinely can’t imagine life being any other way. The rest of us, presumably, can frack off.