September 2, 2009

UK Plaid bags
UK Plaid bags
After much anticipation, students in the University of Kentucky School of Human Environmental Sciences will see results from months of hard work with products from the UK Plaid Project now available in stores.

"It's really been an exciting, educational experience for them," said Scarlett Wesley assistant professor in the UK Department of Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles, who coordinated the students in the project. "First, they get real-world experience in owning your own business, and they get to see their product ideas come to life."

UK is only the fourth university in the nation with an official university plaid.

The project involved the entire university community. Students in Vanessa Jackson's Problem Solving in Merchandising class created designs. Of all those designs, four were chosen for online voting. Nearly 12,000 students, fans and alumni voted to determine the winning plaid, which was announced in April 2008. The winning design has seven lines, which represent the seven national titles won by the UK men's basketball team.  

Other students in the school participated in the project by working on product development, logo design and quality testing. Alumni and representatives from different UK departments served on the project's advisory committee. Pomegranate Inc., a Lexington company, produced the merchandise.

"It's exciting for Pomegranate, and it's exciting to help out my alma mater," said Cassie Bernardi, creative director at Pomegranate Inc. and an alumna of the UK School of Human Environmental Sciences. "I would have loved a project like this when I was in school."

UK Plaid 100 percent silk tieItems in the project are official, UK-licensed products. Those available to consumers this fall include a 100 percent silk tie, a silk scarf, duffle bag, campus carrier, two sizes of cosmetic bags and tailgating table linens and napkins.

"The university is one thing that everyone in the state can be excited about no matter where you live," said Rita Smart, coordinator of the UK Plaid Project and chairman of the project's advisory committee.  "We wanted these high-quality items to represent a tradition, a plaid design that is passed down and used over generations."

 All proceeds from the merchandise will go to the School of Human Environmental Sciences to help enhance students' educational experiences.

The UK Plaid Project is ongoing for students in the Department of Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles. They will continue to work to expand product offerings.

UK Plaid products are available online at and in stores including the UK Bookstore, Joseph Beth Booksellers, Fan Outfitters, Kennedy Bookstore, The Keeneland Shop, Kentucky Korner, Logan's of Lexington, For Friends, Howard Miller, Peggy's Gifts & Accessories and Two Chicks & Co. 

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