Students and alumni are showing off their school spirit — not by attending more sporting events, but by petitioning for their ideal Penn apparel.
In October, a Penn alumnus started an online petition to allow Hillflint, a company that sells collegiate apparel to Ivy League schools, to produce a sweater bearing the classic Penn “P”. The petition has garnered 96 signatures so far, mostly from Penn alumni and current students.
Christopher Bradie, the associate vice president of Business Services at Penn, explained that Penn’s classic logo is currently reserved for the junior Class Board’s design that is sold each fall and for the sweaters awarded to Penn’s varsity athletes upon their graduation.
“Limiting [the classic logo’s] production to these two uses was done to preserve these unique and special University traditions,” Bradie said. “There are no plans at this time to make the designs more commercially available.”
“I’ve been looking for a basic loose sweater with a red P … that would last,” Dalyn Montgomery, a 2012 alumnus of the Graduate School of Education and the creator of the Hillflint petition, said.
“I’ve seen everybody and their dog from other schools have those [classic sweaters],” Montgomery said.
During his search, Montgomery came across Hillflint’s designs for Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale and Columbia. He contacted the company to request that they add a Penn sweater to their collection.
According to Hillflint’s cofounder, Woody Hines, the company produces high quality sweaters with a “classic aesthetic that means something to Ivy League students.” Hines explained to Montgomery that Hillflint had issues obtaining a merchandizing license from Penn.
In response, Montgomery created a petition on Oct. 16 to grant Hillflint a merchandizing license. He said he “doesn’t want to make too much noise directly.” He has no plans to send the petition to Penn officials or to interfere in Hillflint’s business negotiations with the university.
“I just wanted to start a petition to show I wasn’t the only one out there that’s trying to find what I’m looking for,” Montgomery said.
Christopher DiLeva, a freshman in the College, confirmed Montgomery’s suspicion.
“Hillflint’s products present the classic Ivy League style of decades ago that is unattainable through the current suppliers,” DiLeva wrote on the petition.
Charles Pensig, a Wharton alum, signed the petition in October.
“Branded Penn gear is ugly. I’d like an alternative. Penn apparel was miserable when I started at Penn in 2003, and now it’s better, but still awful,” Pensig said.
Ariel Koren, president of the Class of 2015, agreed that the Class Board sweaters have become a loved tradition since the Class of 2012 first sold them. “It’s very exciting to see all the hype around the sweaters during junior year, and how excited people get,” Koren said.
Last semester, over 1,500 juniors purchased the American Apparel-brand sweatshirts for $33 each.
Koren said she was not particularly concerned about the possibility of Hillflint obtaining a license. “If you were to buy a sweater of the same quality and same design at American Apparel, at the Bookstore or at Hillflint, the sweater would be close to $100,” Koren said.