I Love This.

I’m a big fan of preppy clothing. I’m not ashamed of it. I like Vineyard Vines, Smathers and Branson, and Island Outfitters. I also really like Kiel James Patrick. I’ve chatted with Kiel (pronounced like Kyle) more than a few times over the past few years and his brilliance, motivation, and compassion shine through every time we talk.

First, the background. Kiel James Patrick runs a very successful company where he creates interesting bracelets and other accessories (now clothing too). He has a well-deserved following and I count myself as one of his supporters. This post is not about his company though.

This post is about Kiel’s education. Kiel never went to college and is still a very successful businessman. I applaud him for that and personally feel that it should take a lot more than top-notch credentials to become the head of a business. So, when Kiel was sent a message from an anonymous person, it sparked my interest. Here’s the question:

i know you love wearing that harvard cap but, as someone who went to harvard and brown, you should really leave those caps to people who actually went there. you’re giving people a false sense of who you are, especially since you didn’t even go to a school of that caliber (if any)

While you can’t prove that this anonymous person actually attended Harvard and / or Brown, let’s assume they did for argument’s sake. Personally, I would be quite put off by this statement if it was sent to me but Kiel came right back and defended his position. Below is what he wrote:

Harvard University and its students symbolize the summit of American intelligence, ability, and prestige.  Harvard selected my products to sell at the Campus bookstore and I have done so for two years.  Any retailer that supports my company, I support in return. There are many hats, sweaters, shirts and shoes in my wardrobe that I wear out of support of companies, places and schools I respect.

I did not go to college.  College is an institution/business that provides free information at exorbitant cost.  What you are paying for is a human to specify in their opinion what you need to learn/experience/memorize in order to succeed in the rapidly changing real world, as well as grade you on it. The relationships, network, experience and hands on knowledge a student acquires through college can also be achieved by spending four years at job starting at the bottom (meanwhile saving $100K, on average). Every book a professor tells you to open, you can open on your own. If your job requires you to do math and you do not understand, then open a book and learn it. Find people in the field you believe you would like to pursue and ask questions, or even have them mentor you, if they are willing. It is simply self-discipline and ambition. The best teacher you have in the world is yourself.  Teach yourself how to learn.

While your academic achievements are noteworthy, they do not entitle you to imminent domain over the Harvard name, crest, logos or symbols. If you have the degree, why would you spend your time berating those who support your Alma Mater? I am not sure there is a single professional athlete today that would tell someone they shouldn’t wear their respective team’s jerseys simply because they aren’t on the team. Best of luck to you with your pursuits.

What do you think of Kiel’s response? Would you say otherwise? I’m genuinely curious. Weigh in down in the comments or reach out to Kiel here.


  1. TheresaShafer

    January 18, 2012 at 9:36 am

    This is great, I love to see people wearing the logo of my small mid-western university, Butler! Kiel’s answer reminds me of a great line in Good Will Hunting ” See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you’re gonna staht doin some thinkin on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certaintees in life. One, don’t do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library “

    • edudemic

      January 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      @TheresaShafer love that AND the boston accent you typed. bravo!

  2. terryheick

    January 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Perfectly put. No wonder the man’s successful. (I had never heard of him, BTW. I frolic in Nike and University of Kentucky attire. I know not of this “preppy” clothing line.)