College Athletics and Fashion Merchandising – An Odd Couple that Works

This spring, TCU Athletics, through its trademark licensing program, partnered with the university’s Department of Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising on a design competition that awarded a TCU student a VIP experience at New York Fashion Week: The Shows.

Photo of student Anna Kindred

Anna Kindred

TCU senior Anna Kindred from Olathe, Kansas, put together three winning looks that earned her the VIP experience at Skylight Clarkson Sq in Manhattan – complete with backstage tours and meeting some of the biggest names in the fashion industry.

The contest grew from a brainstorming session between TCU Athletics and IMG College Licensing, whose spring national marketing campaign, Rock Your Colors, featured an online sweepstakes for one college fan to win a VIP Tour at NYFW: The Shows. TCU’s trademark licensing team evolved the idea further by creating a contest specifically for TCU fashion merchandising students, with the winner receiving a similar VIP experience.

The idea soon spread, and five other schools offered similar opportunities to students engaged in their fashion academic programs: Michigan State, Texas A&M, University of Cincinnati, University of South Carolina and University of Missouri.

“It has been such a wonderful experience for the fashion merchandising program to partner with TCU licensing for the Rock Your Colors student competition,” said Janace Bubonia, professor and chair of Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising at TCU. “This was an amazing opportunity for our department and our students.”

The first round of TCU’s competition required interested fashion merchandising majors to submit flat-lay designs by choosing three TCU-branded products and putting together an ensemble that would be considered “game-day chic.” The top six vote recipients via Twitter engagement advanced to the second round, which required similar flat-lays of outfits that would be suitable for “a night on the town.”

The final three contestants then had the opportunity to outfit a model for a photo shoot, and were able to keep the photos for their portfolios.

“Partnerships like ours and the ability to impact students’ lives and help them along their chosen career paths make what we do on a daily basis so rewarding,” said Drew Martin, TCU associate athletics director for Marketing and Licensing. “I am excited to see this relationship with fashion merchandising grow and bring more opportunities to engage our talented TCU students in the fashion merchandise industry, including collegiate licensing.”