U of Meg is more than just a clothing brand. In reworking authentic university merchandise into my own colourful creations, I have stitched together my passions for fashion and business.
The goal of U of Meg is to create unique reworked university merchandise pieces that all students can wear to class, on Zoom, and beyond. I hope to bring Canadian university communities closer together while attending classes from all over the world.
The drawing board: starting U of Meg
I love fashion. I always have and I always will. When I was young, I would binge-watch Project Runway with my mom, and I even designed my own figure skating dresses.
In high school, I led a group of student designers for the school’s fashion show. I loved the creativity that comes with fashion, and translating an idea into a tangible garment that someone could wear with confidence brought me pure joy and immense satisfaction.
In November 2019, I had the idea for U of Meg. I wrote it down in the notes app on my phone and didn’t think much of it — I was a first-year student trying to navigate my way through Rotman Commerce and university life. When exams ended in April, I realized I had some extra time on my hands during lockdown.
U of Meg was born. In May, I began prototyping, gaining market research, and purchasing my first set of inventory from the U of T Bookstore. By the end of the month, my Instagram page was live. My first drop sold out in just 24 hours. I realized I was onto something great; the rest is history.
Behind the scenes: my creative process
U of Meg allows me to exercise my creative muscles. I pull a lot of inspiration from current trends and runways — some of my favourite brands to draw from are Valentino, Jacquemus, Cult Gaia, and Danielle Guizio. I am particularly inspired by their innovative use of textures, patterns, and silhouettes.
With these ideas in mind, I also try to stay true to the authenticity and collegial aspect of university merchandise. For instance, my “Rugby Cardigans” were heavily inspired by Danielle Guizio’s Tie-Dye Knit Safety Pin Sweater. I loved the edginess and grunge-feel of the safety pins and wanted to bring that to the classic and preppy rugby shirts.
After the ideation stage, I experiment and create prototypes. Colour theory is an important factor when creating my merchandise. With the cult favourite “Twin Crewnecks,” I pair complementary colours — colours that are opposites on the colour wheel — together or I pair a warm tone with a cool tone to offer contrast.
I also use colour to express how I am feeling. There was a time when the U of Meg Instagram account was temporarily deactivated, and during that time I used colour as a creative and emotional outlet in my designs. “The Rebirth” is an orange and black crewneck that I tie-dyed when I was feeling upset and lost. “The Comeback” is a bright purple, pink, and blue crewneck that represents the overwhelming amount of joy and relief I felt when my account was reactivated.
The next step in my creative process is to gather feedback — this is crucial to U of Meg because it allows me to refine and tweak my creations. My friends, family, and followers are always very helpful and honest. I especially value the input of my friends because they view fashion differently from me, but also understand my own style and point of view.
Next, I begin to promote and advertise the new garment. I have developed a rhythm of executing and posting content on social media. Finally, the new product drops on uofmeg.com, and the cycle restarts.
Marketing and content creation for U of Meg is one of my favourite parts of running my small business. I love that I can leverage my commerce degree to create digital, social media, and email campaigns that I am very proud of. In RSM350 — Marketing Management with Professor Luciano Volpe, I am allowed to formulate creative solutions to real-life business cases. I take these creative thinking skills with me in all aspects of designing and marketing U of Meg.
My marketing strategies follow a similar funnel to my fashion designs, and I can continue to be creative, especially with my TikTok videos.
All in all, I strive to combine my passion for creating garments with my keen interest in innovative social marketing.