For the second consecutive year, a team of student designers has worked to create an offbeat brand of collegiate apparel and accessories that reflects the Oberlin experience. Sticking with the label “ObieWear,” the group has launched its 2013 merchandise in the college bookstore.
Juniors Elena Gold and Ty Diringer say they wanted to go above and beyond last year’s T-shirt offerings. They also listened to survey feedback from students and alumni connected to their Facebook page. With that in mind, this year the ObieWear team brought a hooded sweatshirt and a water bottle to the collection, in addition to two T-shirts.
Sponsored by Oberlin’s Creativity & Leadership Project (C&L), ObieWear is a completely student-run venture. Its goal is to produce a quality line of student-designed and marketed clothing. C&L provides an operating budget of $500 and advisory support; the concept, artwork, marketing, and production is all in students’ hands.
“I think Oberlin students in general feel like we’re a little bit different and unique. Our designs are distinctive and set us apart from traditional collegiate clothing,” says Gold, who is majoring in psychology with a studio art minor.
The sweatshirt in the line features Oberlin’s white squirrels, but in a subtle way. Designer Zack Knoll, also a junior, put a new twist on the Oberlin College graphic: it can be read upside down. The water bottle graphic represents Oberlin’s artistic and scientific minds, and the T-shirt with three cups conveys campus life. “The cups are classic Oberlin symbols,” says Diringer. “They represent the Oberlin smoothie (a DeCafe favorite), the mason jars you see students carrying, and the caffeine that is a big part of students’ lives.”
A second T-shirt has one of the line’s more ornamental graphics and uses Oberlin’s school colors. Designed by Gold, the shirt received the highest rating in the group’s Facebook survey.
Diringer says the guidance of the C&L office “has taken the mystery out of entrepreneurship.”
“The collaboration between the college administration and students has been really helpful,” he says. “I think it’s great that they trust us to see this process through to completion.
The entire ObieWear line is now available in the college bookstore.
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