UofSC unveils its official tartan

Posted on: 3/26/2014; Updated on: 3/26/2014
By Peggy Binette, 803-777-7704

Students, alumni and fans of the University of South Carolina have a new way to don the university’s garnet and black and show their spirit. University officials unveiled its official tartan, a plaid design called “Old Cocky” Wednesday (March 26) on the university’s Horseshoe.

The university’s tartan was made official by the Scottish Register of Tartans, which maintains a database of designs aimed at protecting, promoting and preserving tartan.

“This is an historic time at the University of South Carolina. The tartan – in garnet, black and white – will further represent the positive values of the university, its students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community,” said Marianne Bickle, a retailing professor. “The tartan products bring Gamecock spirit to the community. But let us remember, a portion of all sales from the university’s tartan products purchased from Collegiate Tartan Apparel website go toward USC student scholarships.”

Bickle along with a class of retailing students in the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, led the charge for Carolina to be among the few universities granted a registered tartan.

In 2013 Bickle and her students worked with the university to have students and alumni choose the tartan from three designs created by Collegiate Tartan Apparel. The Old Cocky design won and was officially registered this winter. Products that range from apparel and accessories to tailgating items are available through Carolina’s Barnes and Noble University Bookstore and Addam’s University Bookstore. The complete line of products, which includes kilts and skirts, is available online at Collegiate Tartan Apparel.  A number of better men’s stores and gift shops in the state will be added as tartan retailers this year.  

Carolina joins 40 colleges that have registered tartans, including six from the Southeastern Conference. SEC colleges include Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Dean Brian Mihalik also spoke at the tartan launch, which include a tartan-clad Cocky, bagpipers and array of tartan products, some given away and others sold.

Mihalik said the official tartan is a testament to the Gamecock brand and to Bickle and her students who helped secure the tartan.

"The College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management continues to be a campus leader in providing academic opportunities that enhance the experience of students by integrating learning within and beyond the classroom,” said Mihalik. “The Tartan Plaid initiative, led by department of retailing chair Dr. Marianne Bickle, fits this objective perfectly by giving students the opportunity to move a retail product from a conceptual idea through manufacturing to distribution to sales. The department of retailing’s portion of the profits from this joint venture will go to support unit scholarships, a win-win for all.”

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