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These varsity threads are oozing cool, coupled with community pride

Back in the day, wearing a varsity jacket was somewhere in the middle of being a call to arms, a statement of intent or a point of pride.
The varsity shirts are one of many nostalgic offerings available at the North Shore News Vintage Shop.

Back in the day, wearing a varsity jacket was somewhere in the middle of being a call to arms, a statement of intent or a point of pride. 

The big, brash and stylized lettering let anyone know what school you went to, the team you played for or where your home turf was. 

Look no further than a copy of an Archie Comic for proof of the cool factor associated with the varsity vibe. Archie’s jacket, with the prominent, catchy letter “R” on it, let everyone know that Riverdale was the happening place to be. As an added bonus, Veronica and Betty were dutifully impressed with the look as well. 

It’s this style and throwback sensibility that’s present on a new clothing line available exclusively through the North Shore News.

Simple, cool and to the point, the clothes – including varsity-style t-shirts, hoodies and female-specific fits – feature the names of both North and West Vancouver across the front of the garment to put an exclamation point on community pride.

Four colours are available for each shirt: black, navy, royal and sports grey. They come in sizes ranging from small to 3XL and are designed to weather and fade with each wash to give you that truly vintage look.

The T-shirts are printed in and shipped from Vancouver. The North Shore News has partnered with custom clothing company, Coastal Reign, whose twentysomething co-founders, Eddison Ng and Boaz Chan, have printed more than 200,000 shirts for their Canadian customers.

Photo via North Shore News.

All T-shirts are 100% cotton, preshrunk jersey knit, and available in a variety of colours and sizes, priced at $35 plus tax. Shipping is free.

Proceeds from all varsity shirts sales will support local journalism at the North Shore News. Since 1980, the North Shore News has received more than 200 provincial, national and international awards for newspaper and website excellence, including the Canadian Community Newspaper Association’s “Newspaper of the Year” award in 2019, along with golden awards in the Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards category for Newspaper Excellence for three consecutive years spanning 2017 to 2019.

The varsity shirts are one of many nostalgic offerings available at the Vintage Shop, a one-stop-shop that blends the retro-cool feel of yesteryear with today’s modern fashion sensibilities.

More than a dozen shirts in a range of sizes and colours will have you blurring the lines between the 1970s and today. Long-time community fixtures featured on those shirts include the Lions Gate Tennis Club, Lynn Valley and the Norvans hockey team, among others.

Five different collector totes are now available online that feature art and insignias dating back to the 1960s. Those totes include artwork featuring the B.C. coat of arms; The Seven Seas Floating Seafood restaurant; West and North Van Varsity throwback designs, and a fifth design proclaiming “I Heart North Van.”

Each tote is 100 per cent cotton, with 20 1/2” self-fabric handles and a 9 1/2” handle drop.

And with more municipalities across the region banning single-use plastics, they’ll be a must-have for any trip to the grocery store.

And that’s just the start - the Vintage Store’s roster of cool and quirky collectibles will be ever-expanding in the coming months.

Speaking of cool—does it get any cooler than the likes of Elvis Presley, James Dean or Michael Jackson? All three cultural icons rocked the varsity vibe during their respective careers.

Presley wooed his legions of admirers with a simple, red and white look with the words “Elvis in Concert” proudly emblazoned over the left side of the jacket. Dean, meanwhile, sported a casual red varsity jacket while being perhaps the first cultural touchstone to rock the popped collar with that jacket.

But it was Jackson who took the varsity look to a newer, contemporary level of stardom. Jackson donned the big “M” on the side of his ultra-cool red and yellow varsity jacket, also known as a letterman jacket, in the early ’80s and quite literally everyone took notice.

Soon after, the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders, along with the NBA’s New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, unveiled their own versions of the varsity look to massive fanfare.

Both old school and new school hip-hop artists - Run-D.M.C. and Pharrell Williams, for example - often don the varsity threads, as did the late Princess Diana.

The exclusive shirts and totes can be purchased online at