Your Old FFA Jacket is NOT Just a "Trendy Fashion Statement"
Official FFA Manual - Page 25
Subheading - Proper Use of the FFA Jacket
- The jacket is to be worn only by members...
- The jacket should be worn on official occasions with the zipper fastened to the top. The collar should be turned down and the cuffs buttoned.
- When the jacket becomes faded and worn it should be discarded or the emblems and lettering removed.
- The emblems and lettering should be removed if the jacket is given or sold to a non-member.
"Wearing the FFA jacket made me feel like I was a part of something more than just a club. It's the symbol of my huge family from all over the country; showcasing my home and all of my accomplishments. The jacket is something that is earned and worn with pride. While I love wearing my official dress, I will not wear it as a fashion statement. It means so much more than that." -Annie Mills, North Carolina FFA
As a former FFA member and current Agricultural Education student, you could probably imagine my dismay at the recent Seventeen magazine article titled "Your Old FFA Jacket Is Officially Trendy - This is NOT Official Dress." This article highlights the "trend" that blue corduroy FFA jackets are being used as fashion statements. It says that worn and faded jackets are being sold at vintage boutiques to people looking for a chic look. This trend is outraging members and alumni everywhere, not to mention breaking almost every National FFA bylaw regarding the proper use of the FFA jacket.
"It is a tool that has helped me network with other people in the agricultural industry. It gave me a sense of pride to wear the blue jacket with official dress." -Beth Yanke, Wisconsin FFA
The FFA jacket is to be worn only with FFA official dress. Official dress consists of black slacks/skirt, black closed toe shoes, black socks/hose, a white collared button down shirt, an official FFA tie/scarf and the FFA jacket zipped to the top with the collar turned down and zipper tucked in.
"The jacket has meaning behind it that isn't respected when it's worn tattered and not with official dress." -Lindsay Yeager, Indiana FFA
The jacket has been around for over 80 years, having touched millions of lives. Currently, there are over 600,000 FFA members in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To these members, zipping up the jacket brings them together, prepares them for official gatherings, and allows them to represent their association.
Seeing the beloved jacket be used as a 'fashion trend' has hurt the pride of FFA members and alumni. To past members, the jacket holds memories of accomplishments, friends, and tradition. From traveling to Washington, D.C. for a nationwide leadership conference to receiving a plaque for successfully giving a demonstration on how to feed a sick lamb - the jacket travels.
"We should be sticking to tradition and upholding the ideals that the FFA set out to spread rather than using our tokens as a fashion statement." -Masey Tippetts, Wyoming FFA
Having the opportunity to zip up the blue jacket signifies unity, leadership, and dedication. It signifies the passion students have for learning about the past and present agricultural endeavors. It gives members the courage to deliver a speech in front of an audience. It teaches the youth of today how important it is to be diligent in labor, just in their dealings, courteous to everyone, and above all, honest and fair in the game of life.
"I think it is disrespectful to those who have put countless hours into a [Supervised Agricultural Experience], stood on stage to recite the creed, spent late nights and early mornings at conventions, competitions, fair, etc. Sure, it's great that FFA is getting some sort of "publicity" but it should be about what the jacket embodies; not what the jacket looks like." -Faith Wilson, Oregon FFA
Hearing that this piece of tradition and history is being sold to hipsters and fashionistas is devastating. The jacket should be worn by only current members with the pride of being a part of an organization much bigger than themselves-not for trendsetters to get Insta likes.
"The jacket has so much history in it. Every time I would put mine on, it gave me a sense of pride and belonging to something bigger than myself. I'd hate to see all of that reduced to a fashion statement." -Patrick Byrne, Texas FFA