Ryerson business students are championing their own faculty like never before thanks to a new clothing line.
The Ted Rogers Students’ Society (TRSS) has earned more from apparel revenue two months into the school year compared to all of last year.
At a pop-up sale on Oct. 31, a line of more than 20 students waited inside Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) to get their new swag, followed by a constant stream of people throughout the day.
TRSS launched a new clothing brand during the first week of school called Bay and Dundas, which is manufactured through the popular athletic line, Champion. The students’ society has already seen $15,583.39 in apparel revenue. That’s more than double their clothing revenue from May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017, which only amounted to $6,432.74.
TRSS vice president of finance, Jasdeep Dhaliwal, said they almost matched the total amount made last year on the first day their new line launched.
“The fact that we made almost as much as we made all of last year in just one day, it speaks for the success of the new brand line,” Dhaliwal said.
Their success can also be attributed to the large student body they serve, said Dhaliwal. With more than 9,500 full-time undergraduate students in TRSM, he says there’s just a larger market that can support a new brand and its products compared to other faculties at the university.
But, the large cohort wasn’t as sold on apparel last year.
For 2016-17, TRSS used Roots and Gildan as their clothing vendors. The marketing committee decided last year’s products were overpriced, with sweaters costing as much as $80. The current Bay and Dundas crewnecks go for $40 and hoodies are being sold for $50.
The marketing team also said Champion is more popular among university students.
TRSS apparel associate Emily Gampel said Ryerson is trendier than most schools and the marketing committee wants people to show off their school spirit.
“We aren’t a classic university. We don’t go for that classic campus look,” Gampel said. “When I think of Ryerson, I don’t think preppy. I think edgy, and we took that into account and put it into the design,”
TRSM assistant professor David Lewis said it can’t be assumed that students don’t have school pride if they aren’t wearing any university apparel.
But pride won’t overcome flaws students see in the merchandise, Lewis says, such as last year’s pricey Roots line.
“Ryerson students do have loyalty to the school and they would like to wear branded merchandise but if they don’t like the selection, despite loyalty, they’re not going to wear it,” Lewis said. “I would suspect that style and quality is better and now people are more willing to actually show their spirit for Ryerson.”
Lewis added there is a significant cultural difference with school spirit in Canada compared to the U.S. He says it plays a part in why many schools here may have a tougher time selling their merchandise.
“There’s a social example in the States where you have a lot more fraternities and people wear fraternity gear. Whereas that doesn’t exist as much in Canada,” said Lewis.
With a tougher market to appeal to than neighbouring schools south of the border, TRSS wants to keep attracting students with new merchandise.
The students’ society plans to launch a new winter apparel line at Shop the SLC: A Holiday Market, hosted at the Student Learning Centre from Nov. 20-24.