The unis doing it right

With so much uncertainty in the country, it’s a hard moment for the UK’s 100-plus universities. Funding is being squeezed more than ever so it’s increasingly important for institutions to attract students. This is one of the reasons why custom merch is a growing concern for universities across the country.

Hoodies are the ultimate garment for a student: they keep you warm, are easy to wash and they go with absolutely everything. But custom merchandise also helps universities build awareness as a brand. They can be offered generally or for specific courses and events, alongside a broad range of other merchandise. Most importantly, they create a communal feeling among students and alumni. 

Here are some of the universities with the best hoodies and custom merchandise in the UK.

London School of Economics

Though nestled in one of the most historic parts of London, LSE has a surprisingly modern merch game compared to many of the country’s other universities. While there are serious hoodies bearing the university name, there are also joke t-shirts; one reading “More intelligent than you since 1895”, when the institution was established. Elsewhere they lean heavily on the university’s mascot, a beaver, with items ranging from a cute beaver toy to a pair of engraved beaver cufflinks. They also produce personalised garments for their staff, and worked with ICON to produce the below hoodie for staff working on their masters programme in International Strategy and Diplomacy. 

University College London

The first university to be established in London (and the first to be entirely secular) has a suitably respectable range of hoodies and merchandise, including products used within specific academic projects, such as the smart vector art tote bags which they hired ICON to produce for their Thames Estuary partnership. Elsewhere UCL garments adopt a single stripe logo which is distinctive and versatile, standing out on their t-shirts and hoodies.

Oxford University

This storied university takes a leaf from the American college playbook with branded hoodies and sportswear bearing crests, laurels and details that breathe history and heritage. There are specific hoodies for each college, whether you’re Brasenose, Wadham or simply aspiring, but also a range of branded merch including mugs, tea towels and a regal set of baubles. The best surprise in the Oxford online shop are official uniforms for the college Quidditch teams.

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Final Call for Made to Order College Clothing! Today (9th December) is the last order date for Made to Order College Clothing for UK delivery before Christmas. #oxford #universityofoxford #oxforduniversity #universityofoxfordshop #oxfordcollege #collegeclothing #collegehoodie #madetoorder #lastorder #christmasshopping #christmasgifts

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Glasgow University

Scotland’s second city is known for partying as much as academia, and it has a suitably modern-feeling online shop stocked full of items that it feels like students would actually want: keep cups, woolly hats and high-quality garments that suit the city, shirking fusty designs. That doesn’t mean they don’t offer tartan and the traditional Scottish goods you expect but you’ll also find coasters, umbrellas and mugs with maps of Glasgow and, for the partiers who are out all night, a branded hip flask and custom gin blend.

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Shop hoodies, hats, scarves and thermal cups this winter 🌨️ We say winter but really just Scottish weather essentials! ❄️🧣✨

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Manchester University

This university has adopted purple as the official colour of their branding, merchandise and hoodies, and they’re sticking to their guns. Their hats and garments accent royal purple with electric yellow resulting in loud combinations that are surprisingly appealing. Stranger items in the shop include baby onesies and biodegradable pens, while the separate heritage shop offers classy monochrome branded stationery that nods to the university’s history as two separate institutions before they merged in 2004.

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Thanks to @natashaamalina for this great photo of our student ambassadors. If you've got a question about campus, feel free to stop one of our guides for help.#HelloUoM #uom2016 #manchester #universityofmanchester #askme

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While their hoodies and t-shirts are perfectly nice, Sheffield excel at the unexpected, from fashion onwards. Their cropped t-shirts look trendy, while eco-friendly tees are carbon neutral and vegan-friendly, made entirely from recycled cotton. They also have an engraving side-hustle, offering metal goods emblazoned with the university’s logo ranging from USB sticks to candle holders.

Liverpool John Moores University

You can tell from one look at this uni’s online store what they specialise in: sports. This results in a collection that is functional as well as stylish, with polos and hoodies with sleek cuts and discreet logos that look like they’d be as good for training as they are for repping the name of the university.


The refined feel of the Scottish capital is reflected in their classy stationery and clothing lines for the university, which has been open since 1583. The merch isn’t out of date though, they have all the usual hoodies and t-shirts alongside a “distressed sweatshirt” for those who like a weathered look (or want a garment that will mirror their state of mind around exam season). The sheep-branded merch is a nod to Dolly, the first ever cloned mammal who was created by a team at the university.

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These retro styles are a limited edition and we’re down to the last few sizes online and in store. Get them while you can! #edinburghuniversity #edinburghuni #edinburgh #1583 #retro #tshirt

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Want to create merch for your university store or department? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround printing on a range of garments, counting a number of clients in the coffee trade, as well as clients ranging from such as WeWork to Boiler Room and the Tate. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.