The Daily Mail recently reported on Franklin & Marshall — no, not the liberal arts college founded in Lancaster, PA in 1787, the Italian fashion brand.
Seems a couple of designers found an old college t-shirt, and, without bothering to research its origins, decided it would make a cool name for a logo-driven sportswear brand.
This year the company grossed $61 million.
The college eventually got wind of the name appropriation, and though initially miffed, ultimately decided to let the brand continue, since when you’re a school no one has heard of innocuous buzz is better than no buzz.
The tragic irony, however, is that the fake collegiate Franklin & Marshall sweatshirt (right), designed in Italy, looks more handsome and collegiate than the generic one sold in the real Franklin & Marshall bookstore (left):
Pictured at top are F&M students from 1956 wearing dirty white bucks. — CC
There’s the crew cut!
From their website:
“Franklin & Marshall Clothing Company owns the brand name in all countries except the U.S.A. where the company is a licensee of the college name but is in no way affiliated with, or endorsed by, Franklin & Marshall College.”
As a former Lancastrian with many family members who attended and/or taught at Franklin & Marshall, I was surprised to see the brand when I was studying abroad in Spain. I find it hilarious how they just appropriated the name for their brand. If it raises their name recognition, I don’t see much of a downside.
If the college is okay with this, I am okay with this. I just think that the company should be donating way more than $130K to the college. How about a few new buildings and subsidising tuition?
Yes, colleges and universities need to start paying people to design their gear rather than using Cafe Press, etc. I would love to broadcast where I went to law school, but this is what I have to choose from: http://www.cafepress.com/uchicagolaw_clf. How about something with a seal on it? Come on!
I second that, Gabe. So much of the officially licensed clothing for many colleges looks pretty dismal.
My sister in law attended the school. Pretty trad environment with the Amish population and all. You can’t get much more traditional American than the Amish can you?
Very interesting story. Maybe the school should get them to do so charity design work for them.
Actually, Christian, I have to disagree with your assessment that the F&M bookstore shirt looks less collegiate than the corporate brand. My alma mater has taken their bookstore offerings to the logo’d and glitzed extreme. Seals and “sports logos” and cartoons and pink and shamrocks and all kinds of other schlock. All I really want is a navy blue, crew neck sweatshirt with white block letters. Exactly like the F&M shirt on the left.
The one on the left is the one made by the clothier, not the school, Joe…
Drew, “The tragic irony, however, is that the fake collegiate Franklin & Marshall sweatshirt (right), designed in Italy, looks more handsome and collegiate than the generic one sold in the real Franklin & Marshall bookstore (left):”
I can go with either shirt; both seem very plain. Therefore I must ask, what materials are they made from? Will it keep me warm at night? How much do they cost? Remember, the blue one can hide more sins.
I liked my alma mater’s logoed clothes much better when the football team was so-so and Nike was not involved. I especially like the old-fashioned collegiate look of block capitals with big square serifs, but the best I can do now is the mascot (not even Nike is allowed to mess with that).