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Students take DIY tailgate fashion to the next level

From original graphics to classic designs, these students are adding personal twists to tailgate fashion


ASU junior, Taylor Franz, who majors in retailing and consumer science at UA, poses in a shirt she's designed on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

With ever-changing fashion styles and techniques, fashion gurus at ASU have found unique ways to redesign the basic maroon-and-gold tee for football games and tailgates.

College students in Arizona are finding innovative ideas to makeover their own shirts using a pair of scissors and a creative mind. Some students take to the internet to sell their creations online, others keep their designs for themselves, and these shirts can be seen all over campus every Saturday.

Taylor Franz, a junior at UA majoring in retailing and consumer science, developed her own brand in which she reconfigures the typical t-shirt.

Using zippers, acid wash detailing and lace-up strings, Franz adds her own twist to shirts.

It began her freshman year of college on her living room floor with an old t-shirt and a hot glue gun. She then sent a message to her sorority asking if anyone was interested in buying a shirt.

The demand and positive feedback she received encouraged her to create her own brand, Franz said, which she named GameDayCustomTees.

Through word-of-mouth, Instagram and Etsy, her business has grown beyond UA to ASU, NAU and a variety of schools across the country.

The large amount requests she has gotten from customers has led her to start working with her mother to fulfill orders and continue expanding GameDayCustomTees.  She said her mother helps with many of the sewing aspects while Franz focuses on the design.

“Quality shirts, like the ones at the bookstore, can be so expensive,” Franz said.  “We go all around town trying to make these shirts, and we just make whatever we find.” 

Ainsley Ramsey, a junior studying actuarial science at ASU, is a long-time friend and big supporter of Franz.

“She’s definitely found some really fun ways (to design shirts) that I hadn’t seen before,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey has brought Franz's shirts to her sorority’s meetings and said the response from the girls has always been extremely positive, and they often asked for more.

Ramsey said the support from student-to-student is exciting to witness, especially across “rival schools.” 

“They are supporting another college student who’s doing what they love and what they’re good at as opposed to another company that’s making them,” she said.

Kendra Olivieri, a freshman studying supply chain management, is another student who decided to take her own spin on tailgate fashion.

Olivieri started designing her own shirts using an app called Procreate, where she creates a design and prints it off on a t-shirt at a drugstore, like CVS Pharmacy

She said she started designing her own t-shirts because she found the shirts sold at the bookstore to be too expensive. In addition, the designs she liked the most from other brands cost too much money, and the cheap, affordable shirts weren't her style.

“I don’t keep them as t-shirts,” she said. “I like to cut them into a crop top or some cool cut-out.”

Olivieri said she is not selling her own shirts currently, but would like to get involved in her own business in the future. She said she often comes up with her own designs to avoid copyright issues.

"I'll do something that says 'game day' in the ASU color scheme or something like that," Olivieri said.

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Ellie BorstExecutive Editor 2021-22

Ellie Borst is the executive editor of The State Press, overseeing the publication and its four departments: online, magazine, multimedia and engagement. She plans to graduate in May 2022 with her master's in legal studies and got her bachelor's in journalism in 2021. Previous roles she has held since joining SP in 2018 include digital managing editor, magazine managing editor, community and culture desk editor, and arts and culture reporter.

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