Dress To Impress: Several New Fashions Set To Hit College Stadiums This Fall
The college football season is here, and while schools like Oregon and Maryland will likely draw headlines for their on-field fashion sense, there will be a new fall line appearing in the stands. Outside of the traditional garb, there are several alternative styles that are sure to turn heads on campuses across the country.
BOOT SCOOTIN' BOOGIE: A common fashion at football tailgates and games is boots, and after seeing the amount of enthusiasm for college sports in her home state, Austin-based boot designer Marsha Wright created Gameday Boots. The company was formed in April ’10 and Wright took her designs to various retailers to gain some interest. Gameday Boots immediately received agreements from nearly 20 schools, including Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Arkansas. The boots began selling last September, and the company now has licensing agreements with 78 schools. Three of the top five sellers are from the SEC, with Alabama taking the number one spot. The Crimson Tide are followed by Clemson, South Carolina, Auburn and Texas. Gameday Boots Sales & Operations Manager Jeff Green said, “These are people that are going to pay $60 for a piece of cheese on their head. … There’s tremendous support not only from the student base, but also from the alumni, the grandparents, parents.” Both men’s and women’s boots are priced at $399. Green noted the company set a sales goal of $1.4M, but it is on track to reach nearly $2.6M for its first year in business. He said, “The boots just hit a niche because it’s fashion and it’s fun.” Gameday Boots are carried through boot-specific stores Cavender’s and Sheppler’s but can also be found at Barnes & Noble on-campus locations, Belk’s and Fanatics.com.
LET ME HEAR IT LOUD: Loudmouth has quietly launched a line of college-themed pants, shorts and skirts. The company last year debuted apparel for Tennessee and had a handful of schools signed on through its licensing deal with CLC. In the past couple of months, Loudmouth has moved to significantly increase its roster of clients. The S.F.-based company now boosts a men’s and women’s line of about 20 colleges, including Kentucky, UConn and Morehead State. SEC schools top sales of the collection, with UT’s Rocky Top pattern heading the list. Loudmouth CEO Larry Jackson said the NCAA gear makes up more than 50% of the brand’s online made-to-order sales. Jackson said the company hopes to double the number of schools carried by the end of this football season, with an argyle pattern for Florida and prints including Florida State, USC and Notre Dame. The gear is available on Loudmouth’s website as well as in select college bookstores. A handful of schools were hesitant to sign on with the company that first drew acclaim from its deal with golfer John Daly. Jackson said, “Texas turned us down about nine months ago. So I’m going to give them about a year to wait and then reapply and send them all the other schools’ gear.”
FANCY PANTS: Pennington & Bailes is known for its signature stadium pants that feature teams’ logos, and after launching in ’05 with licenses for five southern colleges, the company opens the ’12 season featuring 50 different schools. Despite being a small, family owned-company, Florida-based Pennington & Bailes has seen great growth and continues to expand its brand, having just signed deals with Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Missouri. The company also has expanded its product line to include women and children’s apparel. Prices range from $68 for a little girl’s dress to $135 for men’s pants and can be found at higher-end specialty stores, as well as online. As with Gameday Boots and Loudmouth, P&B's top sellers can be found in the SEC, with South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and LSU at the top of the list. The brand in '10 launched its shirt line, “The Coach’s Shirt," which was designed specifically for South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier. Company co-Founder Tygh Bailes said, “That has been a very good seller for us and we’re continuing to expand that line.”