Auburn fashion students challenged to design Auburn-themed T-shirt, public will choose favorite

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Students in Auburn University's top-ranked fashion program are being challenged to design an Auburn-themed T-shirt that could garner them a $10,000 prize and/or an internship at Robin Ruth, the leading fashion brand to travelers worldwide.

For the Auburn Family, the contest is a chance to decide what design will be available for sale.

Auburn is the first university to partner with Robin Ruth to launch the design contest – the Student Design League ( The contest serves as an opportunity for Auburn's fashion students to showcase their design skills to the public, get real-world experience working with brands and trademark licensing, as well as support Auburn University and its Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production Management program.

The program is offered through the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences in the College of Human Sciences.

"Auburn's never had anything like this before," said Hayden Shoffner, a sophomore in apparel design. "It's exciting for us to be able to show Auburn and all the other colleges what we can do."

Students and faculty in the program, as well as officials at Robin Ruth, know Auburn is one of the best in the country, but it appears to be a secret around campus.

The website,, recently ranked Auburn as the best public fashion merchandising school in the country and best overall in the South. The website placed Auburn fourth nationally among public fashion design schools and second overall in the South.

Maddy Schulcz, also a sophomore in apparel design, said she could have attended college in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, but she's convinced "it was worth the extra 600 miles" to come to Auburn instead. She said she's already learned so much in a year and now gets to participate in the Student Design League.

"It really is putting us into the fashion industry while we're still students," she said. "And it's incredible how it's involving the whole entire school. It's promoting Auburn and the (fashion) program."

Students majoring in apparel merchandising or apparel design and production management have until Oct. 1 to submit a design for a T-shirt, as well as a hat, that features the university logo.

"Students want to do things like this," said Miranda LaTourette, a sophomore in apparel design. "This helps us and it helps our school. We're getting our name out there; we're getting Auburn out there."

Starting Nov. 1, the public will be able to vote for their favorite among four designs on the Auburn University Facebook page,, and the Auburn University athletics Facebook page, The design earning the most social media votes by Nov. 13 will become the #AUshirt, which will be produced and sold online. For every #AUshirt sold, $5 will go to fund scholarships for Auburn fashion students to study abroad. The student with the winning design will earn a summer internship at Robin Ruth's New York headquarters.

"If my shirt became the design for Auburn, I would be on cloud nine because everyone would wear it," said LaTourette. "I'd see it all over campus and it would just make my day every time I saw it."

Up to three additional student designs will also be produced and sold in the retail market. The student whose design garners the most sales after a year on the market will win $10,000. This prize is funded from a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the first 2,000 #AUshirt.

"We have such talent in Auburn that these shirts are going to be really cool," said Shoffner.

While Auburn is the first school to participate in the Student Design League, it will expand into a national competition in 2016 between Auburn and 24 other fashion programs around the country.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.