Locally Inspired State & Co. Brings Trendy Twist To Penn State Fan Gear
State College is a special place to be. It’s lively with Penn State’s college culture yet peaceful and quaint with the small-town vibes and abundant nature surrounding campus.
This is what State & Co. is all about: combining a passion for design and fashion with an immeasurable sense of pride for the amazing borough of State College and everything that comes along with it.
In 2020, State College locals Andrew Taylor and Kelsey Gonder founded State & Co., a brand that goes beyond just apparel.
State & Co. sells trendy, high-quality apparel for Penn Staters, State College locals, or anyone who loves the area, including Bo Nickal and his wife.
With the pair living in the area their entire lives and Gonder attending Penn State, it was only fitting for them to start a brand with a goal of showing off the tight-knit, “not too big, not too small” community of State College.
“Whether it was coming here to skate or hang out with friends, I’ve been around the area my whole entire life,” Taylor said.
Before State & Co., Taylor and Gonder worked at a fashion wholesaler based out of Philipsburg, Pa., traveling to China twice a year together.
However, they knew they wanted to start something of their own that portrayed their values, eye for design, and passion for where they live.
Growing up with his family’s 120-year-old men’s clothing business, Taylor always knew he had a passion for design and fashion. The entrepreneurial aspect is something that came along with State & Co.
“If you wanna make something, you’ve gotta do it yourself. You can’t just wait around for it,” Taylor said.
When he’s not busy with State & Co., he spends his time as a creative director specializing in photography and videography. You might even catch him capturing the moment Bo Nickal proposed to his wife. Yeah, that happened.
“Being within the fashion industry, I’ve always been looking for something to make designs for,” Taylor said.
The inspiration for State & Co. came from a retailer that emphasized how close-knit and special Pittsburgh is. With iconic sayings, a shared love for their sports teams, and a community-feel, the city has plenty of similarities to State College.
“The community of Pittsburgh is the same as State College,” Taylor said. “We have our own little sayings here, like ‘Happy Valley.’ I knew I could make something that’s close-knit and community-based here in State College.”
One of the most unique parts of State & Co. is the personal aspect of the logo. It’s a digital design of Andrew and Kelsey’s very own dog, Indy, a mini-labradoodle pup.
“Indy was, at the time, maybe three months old, sitting there wearing his new bandana, and I said, ‘Dude, right there is my mascot,'” Taylor said.
As a mascot, Indy conveys the brand identity of State & Co. perfectly — a fun, trendy company geared towards the youth of Penn State and State College.
“He just embodied what I wanted State and Company to be: young, fun, and playful.”
State & Co. says it’s able to differentiate itself from other Penn State apparel brands by specifically marketing clothing that college students love, complete with a student discount. Living in a college town like State College is more than ideal for getting a first-hand look at the most recent clothing trends.
Each design is carefully thought-out and curated. Take the “Jumping Saquon“ design, for example, Taylor’s personal favorite.
“I took an image of him when he jumped an Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back. I mean, he does it all the time, especially now in the pros, too,” Taylor said. “I did my own drawing of that moment, and I think that one’s my favorite because of the simple outline. It’s just him.”
“I wanted to switch it up and make trendier, more fashion-forward clothing for a younger audience,” Taylor explained.
Trendy oversized looks and embroidered apparel that college students love are among some of the next designs to come to State & Co.
In fact, State & Co. is more of a multi-media brand. Right now, there is a blog attached to the website and a podcast in the works.
The podcast, “The Happiest Valley”, will feature a number of “local celebrities” including State College artists, business owners, Penn State professors, and even big names in Penn State sports such as David Taylor, who is also a local business owner, and Bo Nickal.
State & Co. also plans on eventually being physically a part of the State College community by making appearances in farmers markets as well as near Beaver Stadium on gameday. As a result of the pandemic, these plans have been put on hold.
In the meantime, the company has been virtually present, making philanthropic efforts within the community during the pandemic.
Last month, State & Co. showed empathy for the borough it loves by donating $150 to the State College Food Bank during the unprecedented holiday season. Efforts from its supporters helped the brand raise nearly $180 more.
For only having been around for almost a year, the up-and-coming business State & Co. has certainly made its mark on the community of State College, and will continue to do so.
“I want this to be a bigger brand than just the clothing,” Taylor said.
Look out for State & Co.’s apparel (and maybe even Indy!) around campus next time you walk to class.
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About the Author
Our photographers were on hand to capture the sights of Penn State basketball’s return to Rec Hall.
A Cathedral Is Useless If You Never Hold Mass: Penn State Basketball Should Permanently Return To Rec Hall
Rec Hall is an intimidating place to play basketball and the Bryce Jordan Center simply is not. Why not make the switch?
“I’ve just been super interested ever since that first year trying to grow my personal THON story, get more connections to it, help as many people as I can, and be that person [my mom] is for other people.”