After months of prolonged isolation, CapU’s business students announce plans to continue wearing chinos and dockers “indefinitely” amidst an unprecedented rise in Digital Peacocking
Joss Arnott // Staff Writer
Valeriya Kim // Illustration
Casually loosening a double Windsor knot, local Capilano University (CapU) business student Jack Keller confidently stated that he had “no plans” to dress down for the foreseeable future despite being in lockdown since March 2020. Sources say he’s still sporting his signature cream-coloured Chinos, and Keller impressed upon this reporter a need to “dress for success” no matter the circumstances.
The recent switch to Zoom has hit the CapU business student community particularly hard. Lacking a formal locale to develop and maintain their social dominance, the business student community has reportedly turned to increasingly bizarre methods in order to secure attention in their new medium.
This new form of networking, often called “Digital Peacocking” by veteran experts in the field, first emerged in March 2020. The phenomenon, which has since claimed the careers of several dozen students, began with the innocuous use of the Zoom background feature. Desperate to stand out in a sea of beige pants and black shoes, the business student community once again resorted to attempting to one-up their colleagues, resulting in the regular occurrence of students attending classes with an image macro of Spongebob smoking a blunt displayed proudly behind them. These incidents would later be classified as the ‘first wave’ of Digital Peacocking.
Frank Jeffries, a business-student-turned-business-teacher described the First Wave as, “Like that iceberg that sank the Titanic, only bigger, and ultimately more costly.” Which Jeffries later admitted is basically just a description of going to business school in the first place. Yet, despite these early warning signs, field experts declared that the initial wave would be over in “two weeks—tops.”
In early April, things took a turn for the worse. Digital backgrounds were no longer seen as funny, and an inability to get personal podcasts off the ground was leaving the business student community restless. The tense atmosphere would culminate days later when freshman Susan Lancaster pulled a stunt that garnered her a reported three new LinkedIn connections. Lancaster is reported to have worn “like, a ridiculously tiny hat,” according to a source that wished to remain anonymous. “From there, the bloodbath really began,” said Timothy Blanc, a lab technician who helps teachers open and close Zoom.
In the following weeks, it’s estimated that the Digital Peacocking trend curved dramatically upward. While the business faculty was quick to discourage the Digital Peacocking, they neglected to take the necessary steps to flatten the curve. This inability to act led to a mid-April peak where one in five business students were allegedly dressed garishly in order to stand out. “I was afraid to go to work,” said Jeffries. “These kids were dressed like animals. Like literally Steven Myer was dressed as a giraffe.”
The pressure from front line teachers led to a firmer stance by faculty. A full lockdown of camera privileges for the business student community was announced at the end of April. “It was a tough call, but we believe ultimately it was the right one,” said Dr. Petra McLaren, the head of the business department.
A lessening of restrictions at the offset of the fall semester reflected high hopes. Both camera and audio privileges were returned to students in the hopes that they would be able to respect university guidelines. After a calm first week, things once again took a turn for the worse. A rogue third year allegedly played over thirty uninterrupted seconds from a personal cassette or ‘mixtape.’ Described as being ‘fire’, the tape sparked a renewed fervour for the Digital Peacocking trend. Almost immediately, cases of Digital Peacocking spiked to numbers higher than in the first wave of the phenomenon. One student was reported to have worn a pirate ensemble, while another played trumpet, despite being muted. “Personally, I think it’s a sort of mass hysteria,” said a man we found on the street.
The business faculty came down hard on the business student community at the beginning of the second wave, suspending all audiovisual privileges until a cure for the phenomenon can be found. “It’s really a shame for those of us who had the restraint to dress normally,” said Keller. “I think all you really need to succeed in business is a smart pair of Chinos, Dockers, a winning smile and nepotism.”