Great Lakes Collection designs lay across a lit display, in preparation for embroidery. Senior David Burke started the line to represent the Midwest lifestyle. (Kayla Bengtson/TommieMedia)
The Lacoste crocodile or the Polo Ralph Lauren horse logos are recognizable brand names that some college students spend money on, but one St. Thomas student wanted to give a new option.
Senior David Burke designed a new clothing line named the Great Lakes Collection with a loon logo.
Burke was inspired to create the line on a trip to South Carolina for the National Lacrosse Tournament.
“I went into a fine men’s retail clothing store, and there were four or five different smaller brands that all tried capturing their lifestyle down there,” Burke said.
While in South Carolina, Burke noticed that there was really no brand that captured the lifestyle of the Midwest. This got him thinking about creating his own line.
“There’s really no clothing line that Midwesterns can resonate with in terms of their heritage and what they grew up doing, which for me was sort of going to the lake in the summer and spending time with friends and family.” Burke said. “I’m really trying to capture that good and relaxed life.”
Freshman Christian Murray said developing a brand name with the Midwest is an excellent strategy.
“I think it will make good profit because Minnesota people will support it,” Murray said. “We don’t really have a clothing line that represents us.”
Burke said building his brand around the loon has generated a good response thus far.
“We’ve had a good response as far as having a website for only four months now,” Burke said. “We’re basically trying to build this brand around the blue loon logo. Once we do that, I think we can start branching out to different pieces of apparel.”
The Great Lakes Collection has apparel for men and women, and right now Burke said he’s working on something new.
“We’re working on a polo shirt right now: a men’s polo shirt that will be cut and sewn out in San Francisco, so that will be exciting,” Burke said.
Sophomore Bekah Dake likes Burke’s work, particularly the menswear.
“I think the clothes are very simple, preppy and classic,” Dake said. “I really like the men’s line. If I had a special man in my life, I would buy them one of these shirts.”
Sophomore Miraz Abdullah said the line represents manhood to him.
“The clothes represent a real guy, for sure,” Abdullah said.
American Apparel produces the other items.
“For our T-shirts, we just buy those wholesale from American Apparel … They ship them to us, and we have a local guy do all of the printing and embroidery tag work,” Burke said.
Burke wants to incorporate philanthropy in his line, specifically working with Conservation Minnesota and the Alliance for the Great Lakes, each dedicated to protecting Minnesota’s and the surrounding area’s environment.
“They seem great,” Burke said. “We haven’t figured out exactly how the model is going to work.”
Burke said he anticipates either giving the organizations a cut of every shirt or of total quarterly profits.
“If you’re buying a shirt, you’re helping these companies,” Burke said. “That’s kind of our strategy.”
Kayla Bengtson can be reached at email@example.com.