Jake Robinson doesn’t want to wear the same shirt as everybody else.
Each year, the Penn State community votes upon a design that will serve as the official t-shirt for the Whiteout football game. The winning shirt can then be purchased along with season tickets, at stores, and before games. And come game time — this year against Ohio State on Oct. 25 — a large part of the student section sports the shirt. It’s a pretty powerful sight.
But Robinson, a junior, finds this year’s chosen design unoriginal and drab. As such, he created a startup – Wild Card Clothing – with the “mission of adding unique style and flair to Penn State football games and the general Penn State community.”
Robinson, along with friend Adam Griffith, has designed six alternatives to the official Whiteout shirt.
“My thought back in June was that the real Whiteout shirts were lacking for the second year in a row, and so I made the White House tee [pictured above],” he said.
He then saw an opportunity to profit, but he needs to get off the ground first.
“We need about $2,000 to be able to manufacture the initial order for all of our designs,” Robinson explained. “However, even at the cheapest printers, that doesn’t go as far as you would think. Overall, it will get us a modest amount of each of the shirts we want to release.”
Using an online printing company, Robinson hopes to sell his shirts anywhere from $15 to $22. The official Whiteout T-shirt can be purchased for $20 with season tickets.
Robinson also clarified that his shirts circumvent copyright laws and Penn State marketing regulations largely due to the fact that the terms “Whiteout” and “Penn State,” as well as the Nittany Lion logo, do not appear on his product.
“I have done research regarding copyrights and our boundaries as far as designs go,” he said. “None of the shirts violate any of those boundaries in any context of the law.”
Overall, Robinson wants to provide a cheap alternative to a product he finds “plain and unexciting.”
“The goal is to give students a better quality shirt for a better price,” he said. “And we believe we’ve done that with our Whiteout designs.”