A look at two student clothing brands at the University of Alabama

At The University of Alabama, a school with over 30,000 students, you’re bound to find a student body with a wide array of interests. One that’s common on campus is clothing and style. Some students have taken fashion into their own hands by starting their own clothing lines highlighting their values. These students have found their markets and have big dreams beyond UA’s campus.

The process of creating a clothing line is not an easy one. One must have an idea, create designs, find manufacturers, and advertise the business effectively so as to turn a profit. Most importantly, there must be a vision and a drive to succeed.

One student, Bradley Coats, began his clothing line, SHELOVES Clothing LLC, during the pandemic. Having always been interested in fashion, Coats saw this time as an opportunity to finally create and market his line. 

“People were already on Instagram a lot more because we were at home,” Coats said.

During the difficult months following the first shutdown, Coats wanted to help spread positivity and love. 

“The purpose of the brand is to inspire love,” Coats said. “When you’re wearing a heart, it’s hard to be mad.”

Another brand that started on campus is Rose MDL, which stands for Models, Designs, Lifestyles.  Rose MDL is a multimedia conglomerate started by Zachary Nelson and Donovan Harris following the death of celebrity designer Virgil Abloh. They were inspired to follow Abloh’s philosophy of breaking barriers and trends. 

“He stood for free design, throwing stuff together and seeing what sticks,” Harris said. “Your vision, if it’s good enough, will become something.”

Nelson and Harris wanted to start with a mission statement before beginning the design process, hoping to build their company around their core values. 

“Our mission statement is to design freely and create a space where other creators come together and have an open space for ideas to form,” Harris said. 

Both brands worked to figure out who their market was and how to get their name out in the public sphere. 

“Our demographic is people participating in extreme sports like snowboarding and skateboarding,” Nelson said. 

“My market is people who like clothes, people who like fashion,” Coats said. 

All of these student designers believe their clothing speaks for itself. Instead of spending resources on marketing, they call themselves walking billboards, hoping to get possible clients from that. Check out their Instagrams to see their work for yourself. @shelvsclothing and @rosemdl. 

Coats, Nelson, and Harris are just some examples of how students are taking their dreams into their own hands.