New company delves into the sea of sorority wear

When you're in a sorority, wearing your letters is a huge part of showing pride for your chapter. Wearing something "basic" is just not going to cut it. Creative director and founder of Ali & Ariel, Ali Matthews, gives sorority members the chicest clothing and accessories on campus.

While an active member of Kappa Alpha Theta at Arizona State University, Matthews was searching for something that was missing in Greek life. The less than fashionable sorority apparel she sported on campus didn’t show the creative side of her, her sisters and other girls part of Greek life.

“Everyone was just wearing the same unisex tees and everything, everywhere nationwide,” Matthews says.

After graduating in 2008, Matthews used her strong background in art and fashion set off to start her first Greek apparel company. Fast forward 8 years later, Matthews has owned two previous successful Greek apparel companies, making Ali & Ariel her third.

Matthews launched Ali & Ariel on April 28, 2016. Built with the idea of empowering young women’s creativity and individuality, the proud Kappa Alpha Theta alum combined the forces of fashion and Greek life.

“I knew it needed to happen and it needed to exist,” Matthews says. “So that was kind of my purpose in life and what I needed to do. Make sorority apparel and have it to be a voice of women doing that for other women.”

Ali & Ariel provide Greek life apparel such as shirts, bags and hats to hundreds of sororities not only throughout the 50 states, but in Canada as well. How do they have such a huge customer base? The power of social media, of course.

Jordan Wessel spends majority of her time speaking and connecting with their clients via social media to understand the sorority or organization's brand and the image they are trying to portray. 

“Our only form of advertisement is social media,” says Wessel, marketing and brand manager. “So I’m on social media I’d say 80 percent of my time, just because that’s how I’m connecting with girls all over the country.”

Ali & Ariel can be found connecting with young women and developing design ideas on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

“We’re always working on sending the right message across on social media,” Matthews says. “One that celebrates everyone for who they are and for being themselves and for being proud of that.”

Ali & Ariel is nonexclusive to Greek life. Matthews often works with consumers who just simply want something cute to wear. All products from the clothing company are custom made to order, but they also provide designs from consumers to use to spark their creativity.

"My favorite thing about the line would have to be the uniqueness of each design," says current Kappa Alpha Theta member Cassidy Maturan. "Keeping up with the latest trends but also placing organizations on apparel with pride makes representing each chapter so adorable."

The design process for each chapter starts with the client one on one and sending sketches to one another or inspiration get an idea of what they want in their product. 

"Each sorority has their own unique sense of personal style," says Matthews. "We have the special privilege of growing friendships with each chapter and getting to know one another."

Because each sorority and chapter is so different, there is rarely an overlap when it comes to design.

If you’re looking for the Ariel of Ali & Ariel, you won’t find her. Matthews is the sole owner of the company and says Ariel is a fictional character that is a part of everyone.

“She’s magic,” Matthews says. “She’s you, she’s me, she’s every young woman that’s wearing our clothes. Because a bit of that magic that is Ariel, she’s anything she wants to be in this whole entire world. She lives within you too.”

In the few short months that Ali & Ariel has been in operation, Matthews has reached thousands of young women and doesn't plan on stopping any time soon.

“I see it growing to where it’s the number one resource for sorority women,” Matthews says. “Helping to not only give them what they need, the apparel for all their different events throughout college, but in addition to that I want us to make a difference in the life of young women and make an impact that’s positive.”

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