Winner of the first Student Design League revealed

Published: November 13, 2015
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Alaundra Shealey is the designer behind the first #AUshirt at Auburn University.

Her work – depicting an oak tree with War Eagle cascading across it in toilet paper – was announced as the winner of the Student Design League on Friday from the steps of Langdon Hall.

An online vote garnered more than 3,500 votes with more than half selecting Shealey's design as their favorite.

Shealey offered a simple, bright smile and a thank you to the crowd applauding her work. Ben Jablonski, the founder of the Student Design League with Robin Ruth, said he noticed a tear or two on Shealey's face.

Afterward, she said she was okay with her family being late for the announcement. Had they been there when her name was called, she would have most certainly been overwhelmed with emotion.

"I've been fighting back tears all week just thinking about this," said the 28-year-old Opelika native. "I've been so worried about it, I haven't been able to sleep for about two weeks."

Shealey felt a sense of relief when her mother, step-dad, daughter and grandmother arrived and offered her warm embraces and high praises.

The Student Design League was launched in August as a partnership between Auburn's Department of Consumer and Design Sciences in the College of Human Sciences and Robin Ruth, the leading fashion brand to travelers worldwide. Its purpose was to challenge Auburn's apparel merchandising and apparel design students to create the design for an Auburn-themed t-shirt and hat.

Auburn was the first university to collaborate with Robin Ruth in launching the league. Next year the contest is expected to include 25 universities from across the country.

Auburn fashion students not only accepted the challenge, but embraced it.

"An opportunity like this doesn't come around very often for us so we had to take advantage of it," admitted apparel design major Miranda LaTourette.

Being only a sophomore, LaTourette said she is already working on designs for next year.

Forty-four apparel students submitted more than 100 designs. Representatives from Robin Ruth and Auburn reviewed every idea to pick four that could vie for public votes. The final choices had to not only appeal to the Auburn Family, but had to be distinctive from products on the market today.

The top four were revealed online on Nov. 1 and drew more than 3,500 votes in a week, with the majority going to Shealey.

"Auburn is synonymous with winning, football and rolling the trees," she said. "I think my design hit on that sentiment, on that tradition."

The #AUshirt is currently available for purchase at www.SDLproject.com. For every shirt sold, $5 will go to fund scholarships to allow Auburn's fashion students to study abroad.

As the designer of the #AUshirt, Shealey earned a 10-week summer internship at Robin Ruth's New York headquarters.

The remaining three designs – an Auburn football design from senior Ben Hawley, the Auburn dictionary design by senior Amanda Statum and an Andy Warhol-inspired design from senior Cameron Gannon – will be produced and sold in various retail outlets, starting in May.

The student whose design earns the most sales by November 2016 will receive $10,000.

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