The Italian apparel manufacturer, Franklin & Marshall s.r.l. Clothing Company, staged a photo shoot between March 17 and March 20 that used various locations on campus. Locations included a lab and classroom in the Hackman Physical Sciences Laboratories building, Mayser Gymnasium, the football field, and academic spaces in the Herman Arts Center. Five male students and five female students were background models for the photo shoot session that took place in Hackman, while the clothing company’s models wearing the apparel were in the foreground.
The idea of having a photo shoot on a college campus is not a new one. Many colleges have clothing companies shoot on their campuses. However, F&M wants there to be an incentive for hosting the shoot.
“When we receive a photo shoot request from a commercial company, we often want to learn if there are ways that our students might benefit from an educational or experiential perspective,” said Cass Cliatt, vice president for communications. “We might ask if our students can learn what it’s like to participate in a photo shoot by being background models, or we might ask if there is an opportunity for students to learn from the artistic director, photographers, or other professionals on the shoot.”
The College has had a long-standing relationship with the clothing line, largely due to the fact that the clothing line uses the College’s name. This relationship started in 1999 when the clothing company, based in Verona, Italy saw an official F&M sweatshirt in a London thrift shop. The company then started producing 1970s and 1980s vintage collegiate-style clothing featuring the words “Franklin and Marshall.”
The College later began to report seeing Franklin and Marshall clothing in Europe as the clothing line became more popular there. Eventually, the College began discussions with the clothing company, and in 2003 they reached a licensing agreement. In 2010, in addition to and separate from the initial licensing agreement, the clothing company decided to give back to the College, its namesake, by creating a scholarship of 100,000 Euros, or $135,000, which roughly covers tuition for one student for four years. The College chooses one student for this scholarship.
While the Franklin and Marshall Clothing Company used to sell some of their clothes in the College bookstore, this is no longer the case. There is no distributor for the clothing company in North America, so the clothes are available in the United States by online purchasing only.
“The clothing you might typically see bearing the Franklin & Marshall name around campus most likely is not the Italian clothing,” Cliatt said. “All of the clothing company’s apparel is manufactured in Italy and only comes in European sizes, so we’re told that there is no real American market for the clothing at its bigger sticker price.”
The clothing company and the College still work very closely together. The College monitors the quality of the clothing, the use of the Franklin and Marshall College name and logo, aspects of manufacturing, and the use of the images the clothing company uses. In addition, the College also reviews the marketing. According to Cliatt, the College benefits from this relationship in many ways.
“We get the benefit of exposure, not only through the branded clothing itself, but also through information on the clothing company’s website, which includes a slideshow of campus and a link to the College’s website,” Cliatt said. “Information about the College is imprinted on the hang tags that appear on the company’s clothing, catalogs and ads feature images of the College, and historical images of the College are showcased in the company’s stores in its multiple locations across Europe.”
“We are fortunate to be a college with the rare distinction of a relationship with a European firm in a way that promotes Franklin & Marshall College around the world,” Cliatt added. “F&M already has an international reach, with more than 26,000 living alumni across the globe, and 10 percent of our current student body is international, representing 40 countries. The clothing company helps further elevate our profile across Europe, and our relationship allows us to have input into how the College’s name is represented.”